On Body and Soul (2017)
The Square (2017)
Loving Vincent (2016)
The Nothing Factory (2017)
Sunbeat (2017)
Beauty and the Dogs (2017)
Out (2017)
Choose your language en | es | fr | it

email print share on facebook share on twitter share on google+

Industry Report: Focus: Asia & Oceania

The Sapphires marks a great year for Indigenous screen stories


- The Sapphires was the top grossing Australian feature film at the local box office in 2012, taking $14.5 million. This significant milestone marks another great year for Indigenous screen stories and the film’s directorWayne Blair in particular. Blair was also a director and principal cast member in this year’s standout drama series, Redfern Now, which achieved a national average of more than one million people on ABC.

In addition to its local success, the international accolades have come thick and fast for The Sapphires with screenings at Cannes, Toronto, Telluride, London and Busan film festivals. This critical acclaim builds on a strong presence over the last few years with screenings of Toomelah and Samson & Delilah at Cannes, Bran Nue Dae and Mad Bastards at Sundance and the upcoming release of Satellite Boy which has screened at Toronto and will soon be featured at Berlin. The 2013 Berlinale will also feature a major focus on Indigenous cinematic storytelling with films selected to screen fromWarwick ThorntonIvan Sen and Erica Glynn.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

“The success of The Sapphires, and Indigenous screen stories more broadly, is something we can all be very proud of and is a testament to the role of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department which has been supporting projects and filmmakers for over a decade,” said Screen Australia’s Chief Executive, Ruth Harley.

“Furthermore, series 2 of Redfern Now has been commissioned and the new ABC series The Gods of Wheat Street will screen later this year. Combined with feature films Mystery Road (Ivan Sen), The Darkside (Warwick Thornton) and Charlie’s Country (Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil) all in production, we are set for a big 2013 for Indigenous stories.”

In 2012, Australian films at the box office took $47.9 million at local cinemas, accounting for a 4.3 per cent domestic share. Audiences clearly wanted to laugh this year with comedies performing particularly well.Happy Feet Two followed The Sapphires with $8.2 million, taking its total box office to $10.7 million when including its earnings from 2011. Kath & Kimderella ($6.1 million), A Few Best Men ($5.3 million) and Mental ($4.1 million) rounded out the top five.

“Another achievement this year was the development of our interactive widget which helps everyone stay in touch with how our feature films are performing at both the cinema and on television. It is updated weekly and monthly and can be found on our site as well as in our trivia app Are You Buff Enough? and can also be embedded into your own site. I encourage you all to take a look, play the game and continue to get behind our screen stories,” concluded Dr Harley.

To find out more about Are You Buff Enough? visit:www.buffenough.com.au

Summary of 2012 box office by country of origin

In 2012, the Australian box office topped the billion dollar mark for the fourth consecutive year with a gross of $1,125.5 million. There were 548 films screened of which 43 were Australian productions. Together, Australian titles accounted for $47.9 million or 4.3 per cent of total earnings.

Annual box office Australian films, 2003-2012:

box office

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia from Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) data.


  Australia US UK ROW Total
No. Titles 43 231 63 211 548
Share of titles 7.8% 42.2% 11.5% 38.5% 100.0%
Total box office $47.9m $892.4m $115.3m $69.9m $1.13bn
Box office share 4.3% 79.3% 10.2% 6.2% 100.0%

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia from Motion Picture Association of Australia (MPDAA) data. Notes: Data includes all films screening, 420 releases from 2012 and 108 from previous years. Box office is based on 2012 earning only.

Summary of first release titles in 2012 by release strategy

The release strategy is defined by the number of opening day prints and is seen as providing the most appropriate indication of a distributor’s assessment of initial demand for a film.

In 2012, there were 548 films that reported box office, of which 421 screened for the first time in Australian cinemas that year. The majority of earnings came from films released on more than 200 screens, with 18 per cent of first release titles issued across Wide (200–399 prints) and Blockbuster (400+ prints) categories. Together these films accounted for 84 per cent of first release earnings.

In contrast, most Australian films are released with either a Limited (up to 20 prints) or Speciality (20–99 prints) strategy. In 2012, more than half of the first release titles premiered on less than 20 prints.

By release strategy
Country of origin Limited(0-19 prints) Speciality(20-99 prints) Mainstream(100-199 prints) Wide 
(200-300 prints)
Australia No. Titles 15 4 2 6 0
Share of titles 6.8% 4.3% 5.6% 10.9% 0.0%
Total box office $2.3m $2.2m $2.0m $32.5m $0.0m
Box office share 9.2% 3.5% 2.4% 6.8% 0.0%
US No. Titles 40 40 27 47 17
Share of titles 18.3% 43.5% 75.0% 85.5% 89.5%
Total box office $4.5m $27m $61.6m $402.0m $357.3m
Box office share 17.9% 42% 74.3% 84.6% 87.5%
UK No. Titles 24 15 6 1 2
Share of titles 11.0% 16.3% 16.7% 1.8% 10.5%
Total box office $1.7 $10.7m $12.7m $21.4m $50.9m
Box office share 6.7% 16.6% 15.2% 4.5% 12.5%
Rest of World No. Titles 140 33 1 1 0
Share of titles 63.9% 35.9% 2.8% 1.8% 10.5%
Total box office $16.6m $24.4m $6.7m $19.3m $0.0m
Box office share 66.3% 37.9% 8.0% 4.1% 0.0%
Total No. Titles 219 92 36 55 19
Total box office $25.0m $64.1m $83.0m $475.3m


Source: Compiled by Screen Australia from Motion Picture Association of Australia (MPDAA) data. Notes: Data includes only those films that were first released in 2012.

Anticipated Australian films

Selected Australian films with an anticipated release in 2013
Title Producer Director Writer
Aim High in Creation! Lizzette Atkins Anna Broinowski Anna Broinowski
The Babadook Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere Jennifer Kent Jennifer Kent
The Darkside Kath Shelper Warwick Thornton Warwick Thornton
Drift Michele Bennett, Tim Duffy, Myles Pollard Morgan O’Neil, Ben Nott Tim Duffy, Morgan O'Neill
The Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Catherine Knapman, Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick Baz Luhrmann Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Goddess Richard Keddie, Andrena Finlay Mark Lamprell Joanna Weinberg, Mark Lamprell
I, Frankenstein Andrew Mason, Richard Wright, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi Stuart Beattie Stuart Beattie
The Pappas Brothers George Pank, James Gay-Rees, Eddie Martin Eddie Martin Eddie Martin
Patrick Antony I Ginnane Mark Hartley Justin King
The Railway Man Andy Paterson, Chris Brown, Bill Curbishley Jonathan Teplitzky Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson
Return to Nim's Island Chris Brown, Tom Hoffie Brendan Maher Ray Boseley
Satellite Boy David Jowsey, Julie Ryan Catriona McKenzie Catriona McKenzie
Save Your Legs! Robyn Kershaw, Nick Batzias Boyd Hicklin Brendan Cowell
Singularity Grant Bradley, Dale Bradley, Paul Breuls, Guy J Louthan Roland Joffé Roland Joffé
Two Mothers Andrew Mason, Philippe Carcassonne, Michel Feller, Barbara Gibbs Anne Fontaine Christopher Hampton

Source: Screen Australia; Motion Picture Association of Australia (MPDAA)

Scope and definitions

Australian share of the box office is calculated based on the results for projects under Australian creative control, including those that are 100 per cent foreign financed, as well as projects where creative control is shared between Australian and foreign partners with a balanced mix of Australian and foreign elements in the key creative positions (‘co- productions’).

The classification is unrelated to whether or not a project has been certified as eligible for the Producer Offset, as the Strategy & Research Unit does not have direct access to this information. Administration of the Offset is governed by the secrecy provisions of the Tax Act and only the taxpayer, in this case the production company, can share information about their tax affairs, including the Offset status of their projects.


in this industry report


Les Arcs call

Follow us on

facebook twitter rss