Lion is the Top Grossing Australian Film of 2017

January 22, 2018

The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) released the 2017 box office figures today, and Garth Davis’ Lion came out on top with a total domestic gross of $29.5m. This makes it the fifth all-time biggest Australian film at the local box office, an achievement that contributed to a global total of $177.94m.

To put that into perspective a little, Lion took down more money in 2017 than every other Australian film combinedRed Dog: True Blue took $5.9m in addition to $1.6m taken in 2016, Jasper Jones made $2.7m, Dance Academy scored $2.1m, Jennifer Peedom’s documentary Mountain made $2m, and so on, for a total domestic box office score for Australian made films of $49.4m.

“2017 was a great year for Australian film and Lion in particular deserved not only its critical success, but its commercial success, which was derived from a well-planned, global strategy,” noted Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason. “However, the decade-long trend of indie films being squeezed into smaller releases continues, resulting in these films earning less at the box office. In 2007, blockbusters took around 23% of the Australian box office, but ten years later they took over 50%.

“That trend is even more apparent when you look at films playing on less than 200 screens, which in 2007 were jostling for a 33% share of the box office, but in 2017 they didn’t even reach 14%. And it’s not just Aussie films, but indie films from all countries that are feeling the pressure. For example, looking at the non-Australian Best Picture Oscar nominees in the period, you had Manchester by the Sea do $3.1m in Australia, Fences did $1.2m and the category winner Moonlight on $2.5m. All critically acclaimed, remarkable films doing significantly less box office than they would have a decade ago.

“These are the new rules in which we must compete, so at Screen Australia we’re not only looking for exceptional Australian stories, but stories with a considered path to audience at the cinema, and then beyond the cinema.”

Check out the full report here.


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