Australian films’ share of the national box-office this year is destined to fall well short of last year’s 3.5% and the 10-year average of 3.8%.

Through last Sunday the 31 local features and documentaries released this year, plus around 20 titles that carried over from 2013 or earlier years, had racked up $19.6 million.

The year-to-date gross is $908.9 million so that represents a market share of 2.18%. Still to come are Paul Fenech's comedy Fat Pizza vs Housos (November 27), Jon Hewitt’s Turkey Shoot reboot and Jim Lounsbury’s mystery drama Love is Now (both December 4) and Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner (Boxing Day).

So by year’s end the market share will probably be the lowest since 2004’s 1.3%.

Last year Aussie films and docs accumulated $38.5 million, boosted by The Great Gatsby’s $27.4 million. This year only The Railway Man (which launched on Boxing Day), Wolf Creek 2 and Tracks surpassed $2 million and no other title cracked $1 million.

As IF has pointed out, Australian theatrical returns should not be deemed the sole arbiter of any film’s success or otherwise. This has been a particularly strong year for international sales for a raft of titles including Son of a Gun, Felony, The Rover, The Little Death, Kill Me Three Times, Lion, The Dressmaker, Charlie’s Country, The Babadook, 52 Tuesdays, My Mistress and Maya the Bee Movie.

On paper the 2015 line-up looks more diverse and potentially more commercial, with The Water Diviner, Robert Connolly’s Paper Planes and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road among the stand-outs.

The slate includes psychological thrillers Backtrack, Cut Snake, Kill Me Three Times and Downriver; dramas The Daughter, Strangerland, Last Cab to Darwin, Manny Lewis, Sucker and The Dressmaker; comedies Now Add Honey and Oddball; sci-fi thrillers Infini and Terminus, vampire horror/comedy Wyrmwood and feature documentary Women He’s Undressed.

View our latest box office graph here

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  1. The reason the Gorton government introduced subsidy to create an Australian cinema was to enable Australians to create their own stories for Australian audiences. It was premised on the reality that our cinema was dominated by Hollywood. International sales were very much secondary. If we can’t get Australians to pay to watch our films on the big screen it does beg the question why the subsidy continues to exist. But The Water Diviner looks to have real mainstream potential and strong marketplace support and Paul Fenech’s features have done great box office given their very low budgets. A better question would be to ask who at Screen Australia as part of its evaluation process approved a very long list of dud movies with little domestic box office potential.

  2. Yes, there were a lot of international sales, but none of those movies listed gained any traction overseas, except for The Babadook, which did OK in Europe. I read a lot of the US reviews for those movies – most got a lukewarm reception and many were downright hostile (check out all the US reviews for Kill Me Three Times!). Perhaps Oz audiences are just a reflection of what other countries want to watch. Perhaps the instincts of Oz filmgoers are right. Roll on 2015 – I can’t wait for Fury Road.

  3. As long a the multitude of so called producers, only interested in examining their own belly button, and they continue to get supported by SA they will make ‘downers’. If only either, them or the SA bureaucratic systems would consider audiences, locally or internationally, perhaps a better outcome would result.

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