Screen Australia recently released its analysis of Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia data, with news that the Australian box office totalled AUS$1.09 billion in 2009, the highest on record and an increase of 16% on 2008’s haul. (The press release doesn’t give an annual admissions total).
Of the 418 films released in Australia during the year, 50 were local productions which shared 5% of the market (AUS$54.8 million). Bruce Beresford’s Mao’s Last Dancer was the top performing Australian title, grossing $15 million.
Screen Australia reports that the 34 British films on release secured 9% of the market in 2009 (AUS$98.2 million), and US films shared 83% (AUS$899.4 million).
The press release also sheds some interesting light on the way Screen Australia is developing its approach to measuring and reporting audiences for Australian film.
“Our Research Unit has been analysing case studies of films over their entire first-release life cycle”, notes Dr Ruth Harley, Screen Australia CEO.
“Kokoda, for example, which took $3.2 million at the box office in 2006, recorded approximately 316,000 admissions. The film went on to achieve in excess of 1.3 million viewings in the two and a half years from cinema release to first free-to-air television broadcast. Cinema admissions accounted for just 24 per cent of these viewings […] It’s a high priority for Screen Australia in 2010 to better understand downstream viewings as we refine a new range of measures to reflect audience engagement with Australian screen production.”
Hopefully these new measures will also factor in audiences for Australian films viewed on digital platforms, including online and mobile devices. (An aside: just imagine if a public agency had the courage to publish data about the incidence of file sharing of its national films, not as an indicator of illegal or unethical activity but as another metric for audience engagement...)
Back to reality, and over in Denmark cinema admissions increased slightly in 2009, rising from 13.1 million in 2008 to 13.9 million. Disappointingly, Danish films achieved a market share of 17% (2.4 million admissions), the lowest level since 2000 and a fall from 33% in 2008 (when local blockbuster Flame and Citron performed strongly). The top performing Danish title, Anders Matthesen’s What Goes Around, garnered 402,000 admissions, while Lars von Trier’s Antichrist mustered only 83,000 (was it something the fox said?).
Hungary saw cinema admissions total 9.3 million in 2009, pretty much on a par with 2008, and Hungarian films shared around 10% of ticket sales. Meanwhile box office gross for the year rose by just over 10%, although no total is given in the report carried by Film New Europe.
Another report by Film New Europe puts Romanian admissions at 4.6 million in 2009, a rise of 43% on the previous year. Box office gross totalled 78.2 million RON, up by 60% on 2008’s total. No market share for local films is given.
All these numbers, and those of previous posts, are summarised in the table below.
Table 1: Selected 2009 admissions, box office gross and national market shares
Numbers above 1 have been rounded to nearest whole integer
* UK and Republic of Ireland box office gross = £1.05 billion.
** This total is for all UK-qualifying films, including inward investment features made with US studio involvement. UK films produced independently of US studios shared 8.5% of the home market.
'-' data unavailable
Screen Australia, China Film Group, CNC, Cinetel, Cineuropa.org, Film New Europe, Nielsen EDI, UK Film Council, Adams Media Research.