Box Office Or Bust
The 2009 Australian box office has seen the record for highest grossing year broken for the second consecutive year.
The result, which has pushed the Australian box office over the $1 billion mark for the first time, has delighted the local arms of the Hollywood film studios.
"What a year!" said Chairman of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA), Mike Baard, who also heads up Universal Pictures in Australia. "A spectacular line-up of films which engaged, stimulated and entertained audiences in record numbers. Responding to the value proposition of great cinema in world class venues, Australians flocked to the movies despite the global financial crisis."
Credited as one of the reasons for the record breaking year is the huge range of films that have been released, as well as audiences embracing new technologies currently being used by filmmakers. And once all 2009 releases reach the end of their cinema run, the year will be even better. Avatar, which was released in late December, has gone on to become the highest ever grossing film at the Australia box office and, worldwide, is now the second highest earning film of all time.
"It was a watershed year for new technology and diversified offerings from exhibitors, following 2008's record-breaking line-up of films, the studios continued to deliver what audiences were looking for with a continual line-up through the year of outstanding films. Audiences embraced 3D technology with Monsters vs. Aliens, Ice Age 3 and Up, were treated to ground-breaking effects in 2012, visited favourite franchises with new instalments of Harry Potter, Transformers, Star Trek, X-Men, Twilight and Fast and Furious and were moved by uplifting and inspirational stories in Gran Torino and Slumdog Millionaire," said Mr Baard.
"Australian films also enjoyed one of the best years in recent memory led by Mao's Last Dancer, and a host of acclaimed and successful films such as Samson and Delilah."
Australian films had a great year at the box office, bringing in just under $55 million, almost double the 2008 earnings. Led by Mao's Last Dancer with $15 million, Australia with $10.6 million, Knowing with $7.6 million, Charlie and Boots with $3.9 million and Samson and Delilah with $3.2 million, Australian movies reached their highest domestic box office gross since 2001. Australian filmmakers also had their most prolific year in over 25 years with 50 Australian films released in 2009.
On top of the box office success, it was one of the most critically acclaimed years in recent memory for the Australian film industry. Due mainly to the success of Samson and Delilah in winning the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes film festival and earning a spot on the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language film shortlist, there have been few years that could match the critical international interest this year's films have received.
Screen Australia Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, "Australian audiences embraced the diversity of stories produced by Australian filmmakers in 2009. Reports show that 1.4 million more Australians went to the cinema to see Australian films in 2009 than 2008 - a 45 per cent increase on the previous year. The top five films provide a snapshot of the impressive array of genres on offer in 2009 across all release categories."
With big, all-star films like Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans and sequels to the popular Twilight, Harry Potter, Iron Man and Toy Story franchises, not to mention The Spy Next Door, to come in 2010, MPDAA chairman Mike Baard is hoping the current trend will continue.
"With such a strong platform established and an incredible line-up of exciting films in 2010, we look forward to another great year at the movies."