Tim Winton’s The Turning has sold more than $200,000 worth of tickets before its September 26 debut on 16 screens around Australia.

That’s an impressive figure and a just reward for the release strategy by the co-distributors, producer Robert Connolly’s CinemaPlus and Madman Entertainment.

That sum has been generated by advance ticket sales, a few screenings before the official launch, and the proceeds of its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

“We are feeling very positive about the early response to this unique cinema event,” Madman’s Paul Wiegard told IF. “To see such strong numbers coming through from such a select and targeted release is fantastic. We at Madman and CinemaPlus have done our best to create something new and exciting for cinema audiences, not just with what is on the screen but in the experience that surrounds it. These early numbers indicate that audiences around the country are excited about this fantastic and intriguing piece of Australian cinema.”

In most locations the film was booked to play for two sessions a day, usually at 3 pm and 7 pm, for two weeks. The distributors have acceded to requests from some exhibitors to add a lunchtime session. Screenings in some rural locations are now being considered.

Connolly conceived the idea and produced the three-hour film, based on 17 short stories by Tim Winton, with Maggie Miles. Spanning 30 years, the inter-locking stories revolve around the turning points in the lives of the people of a small coastal community in Western Australia.

The 17 directors are a mix of first-timers such as David Wenham, Stephen Page, Mia Wasikowska and Shaun Gladwell, and seasoned hands including Connolly, Tony Ayres, Claire McCarthy, Warwick Thornton, Justin Kurzel, Jonathan auf der Heide and Rhys Graham.

The on-camera talent includes Callan Mulvey, Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Otto, Brenna Harding, Richard Roxburgh, Dan Wyllie, Oscar Redding, Robyn Nevin, Susie Porter, Wayne Blair and Mirrah Foulkes.

The talent is taking part in Q&A sessions and ticket buyers in those two weeks get a glossy  40-page program.

The film will be launched internationally next year via the sales agent, Tine Klint's LevelK.

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