Australian films earned $41.8 million or 4.9 per cent of the total Australian box office in 2002. While the percentage is down on 2001, the overall performance by Australian films was solid, with three Australian films earning over $5 million each and ten films taking more than $1 million each at the box office.
(see chart 01)
Topping the list was the Mick Molloy comedy Crackerjack with $7.7 million. It was closely followed by Rabbit-Proof Fence with $7.5 million and Dirty Deeds at $5 million. The UK/Australia official co-production Charlotte Gray earned $4.2 million, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course took $3.9 million and The Hard Word took $2.9 million.
The number of Australian films to achieve success at the box office increased this year, though there was not a US studio financed hit on the scale of Moulin Rouge!. In almost all markets outside the US, high box office shares are reliant on at least one huge hit, such as Moulin Rouge! in the domestic market. Ten titles in 2002 took more than $1 million compared to six in 2001. This puts 2002 in the top three years of Australian films that have earned over $1 million (adjusted) at the box office. It is comparable to 1982 with eleven films and 1998 with ten.
(see charts 02 and 03)
The total box office for 2002 increased 4 per cent to $844.8 million, up from $812.4 million in 2001. This is the highest total box office in Australia ever.
There were 92.5 million admissions--the same total as 2001. The average ticket price was $9.13, up 4 per cent from $8.78 in 2001.
A total of 259 films were released in the Australian cinema market in 2002 according to the Motion Picture Distributors' Association of Australia (MPDAA). There were twenty-two Australian releases--nineteen feature films and three documentaries. US films dominate with approximately two thirds of films released in Australia of US origin.
(see chart 04)
The production value of the nineteen Australian feature productions and co-productions released in 2002 was $148 million--an average budget of $7.8 million. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) the average budget for a major US studio (e.g. Disney, Warner Bros, Universal) film in 2002 was $A95.9 million (US$58.8 million) with the average for a minor US studio (e.g. Miramax, New Line) film at A$55.5 million (US$34.0 million).
Release patterns for the nineteen Australian feature films were polarized into either a wide or narrow release. Nine titles (forty-seven per cent) were exhibited on 100 or more screens with five (twenty-six per cent) exhibited on ten to twenty-nine screens and a further four (twenty-one per cent) exhibited on less than ten screens. This is very similar to the release patterns for the Australian features released in the three previous years (1999, 2000 and 2001).
THE PLAYING FIELD
As in most countries, the Australian box office continues to be dominated by big budget US productions backed by studios who run vigorous and well-resourced marketing campaigns. Movie franchises and event films based on well-established brands dominated the 2002 Australian box office, ensuring US supremacy with films like Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones; The Scorpion King, Scooby-Doo, Men in Black II, and Austin Powers in Goldmember.
* The top ten films watched by Australians grossed an average $25.1 million ($23 million in 2001). Star Wars: EP2 Attack of the Clones finished on top with $33.8 million.
* In 2002 the top fifty films took 72.2 per cent of the box office (73.6 per cent in 2001). Forty-two of the top fifty were from the US. Of the remaining eight, three were Australian, four were British (Bend it like Beckham, Gosford Park, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (UK/USA) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [UK/USA]) and one was French (Amelie). …