The stats for last year reveal another healthy year for Australian cinemas and a small improvement by local films.
23 Jan 2013 - 12:41 PM  UPDATED 23 Jan 2013 - 12:41 PM

Australian cinemas raked in $1.125 billion in 2012, up 2.8% on the previous year, while Aussie films' box office share was 4.3%, slightly above the 10-year average of 3.8%.

The overall B.O. total was below the industry record of $1.128 billion set in 2010, the year of Avatar. The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia's stats do not quantify ticket sales but SBS Film estimates the admissions total was 85.8 million in 2012, based on an average ticket price of $13.10. That compares with 85 million in 2011 (when the average was $12.83) and 92 million in 2010 ($12.26). According to Screen Australia, the 42 Australian films released last year grossed a total $47.9 million.

The MPDAA highlighted the results of The Sapphires, which grossed $14.4 million, Kath & Kimderella ($6 million), A Few Best Men ($5.3 million) and Mental ($4 million). However, hailing 2012 as an “excellent year for Australian titles,” as described in the MPDAA's media release, is a stretch.

Globally, it was another a tough year for Oz films. Producer Antony Ginnane, who surveys the international performances each year, says Bait 3D was the standout hit, earning $25.7 million in China, a record for an Oz title in that territory, $2.4 million in Russia and nearly $2 million in Italy. He notes the thriller did poorly in the US where distributor Anchor Bay dumped it with a simultaneous, ultra-limited theatrical and DVD release.

The only other films that played in a significant number of territories were A Few Best Men and the co-production Iron Sky. In his survey published on Screen Hub, Ginnane says Mental, The Sapphires and Red Dog all bombed in the UK.

In Australia, the transition from 35mm film projection to digital cinema continued and an
estimated 72% of the country's 1,995 screens are now digital; of those, 57% are 3D-capable.

Reflecting on the year, MPDAA chairman Marc Wooldridge said, “Clearly 2012 benefitted from a tremendous mix of commercial and highly entertaining movies and consumers continue to demonstrate strong support for the timeless and unique appeal of going to the cinema. Australia boasts some of the best cinemas in the world and a night at the movies continues to provide a tremendous, good value, out of home experience for people.”

The MPDAA emphasised the ongoing battle against piracy, citing research by the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, a coalition of film and TV organisations, which showed the majority of people who illegally download films in Australia don't believe they contribute to the problem. Wooldridge says “The importance of being able to protect creative intellectual property cannot be understated and failure to do so will ultimately define the future of filmed entertainment. There is more work to be done as an industry to educate and influence people, particularly in light of the potential impact of the incoming National Broadband Network.”

The top-10 titles were The Avengers (pictured) with $53.2 million, Skyfall ($44.2 million), The Dark Knight Rises ($43.3 million), Ted, ($34.4 million), The Hunger Games ($31.1 million), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 ($28.2 million), Ice Age 4: Continental Drift ($27.6 million), Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($24.2 million), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($21.4 million) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows ($20.1 million).