2009 Box Office Review - Australia - Part 2
Fox once again led the distribution race in Australia with A$179.6m for their 21 releases and an almost 17% share of the market. They held the number one position for 12 weeks and controlled approximately 14% of the theaters with “Avatar” and “Ice Age” at the top of their hit list.
Sony was in second place with an A$142m box office gross and a 13.3% market share across 27 films. While none of Sony’s titles appeared in the top five, “2012”(A$20.3m) “Angels and Demons” (A$18m) and “Terminator Salvation” (A$15m) all had respectable earnings and fell in the top 20 while ruling the box office for ten weeks.
Paramount’s third place position with 30 titles earned them a 12.7% market share and an A$135.5m gross primarily as a result of “Transformers” and the 3D Paramount/Dreamworks title “Monsters vs. Aliens.” Paramount was the top distributor in 2008 with an almost 17% market share across 29 titles.
Powerhouse local distributor Roadshow came in fourth for the year as they did last year, with earnings of A$125m, an 11.7% market share and had the most releases at 37, but with only five weeks at number one. They increased their revenues this year and dropped the number of releases by six. “Sherlock Holmes” (A$24.6m) and “Gran Torino” (A$16.3m) are primarily responsible for their profits, in addition to the co-release of “Mao’s Last Dancer” (A$15.4) with.
Universal Pictures International just edged out Disney with their 11% market share, a 3% drop from last year’s share, though titles like “Fast and Furious” (A$17m) and Sacha Baron Cohen’s most recent big screen character, “Bruno” (A$14m) helped to drive their numbers. Disney earned about the same 11% market share but from 19 films as compared to Universal’s 24, with success from titles like “Up” and “The Proposal” (A$16.6m). It’s an improvement in market share for Disney who in 2008 only controlled 8% of the market.
Warner Bros. controlled the smallest market share of the Hollywood studios at 7%, though they also had the fewest releases with only ten pictures. However, two of those ten – “Harry Potter” and “The Hangover” ended up in the top 10 for the year.
Local distributors Hoyts and Icon were next in line with market shares of 5.5%, up from a 3.8% in ’08, and 5% up from ‘08’s 1.9%, respectively. Icon scored with surprise hit “Paranormal Activity” as its top performer, with an A$8.6m take.
With “Avatar,” “Harry Potter,” “2012” and “Star Trek” (A$16m) all boasting more than A$16m at the Australian box office, the science fiction fantasy genre was on fire this year with a combined box office take of A$191m over a total of only eleven pictures in the genre.
Four action adventures – “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “X-men Origins: Wolverine” (A$18.6m) and “Fast and Furious” all managed to be in the overall top fifteen titles for the year. Each of the four grossed more than A$16m and is clearly an equally audience pleasing genre, but also reflects a much lower success relationship as there were over 40 releases in this genre.
More than 70 comedies were released of which the top 20 earned more than A$6m with Universal’s “Bruno” collecting the best opening weekend (A$5.9m) mention. Roadshow’s “He’s Just Not That in to You” had the best opening weekend per screen average for comedies with A$18.6k though it finished the year with A$14.7m for fifth place in the genre.
Sixteen animated films were introduced this year in Australia with the 3D performers topping the list though half of the releases made less than A$3m.
Imax had three documentary top ten finishers with “Under the Sea 3D” as their best performer at a gross of A$2m. “Dinosaurs Alive” had their best per screen average at A$20K though only grossed A$800K for the year.
Drama was the best-represented genre for the year totaling almost one in four of the films released with “Twilight: New Moon” at its top. Followed by “Gran Torino” and “Mao’s Last Dancer,” Roadshow’s “My Sister’s Keeper” (A$9.5m) and Sony’s “Julie & Julia” (A$7.3m) came in fourth and fifth.
Six horror titles grossed more than A$2.5m, with “Angels & Demons” first on the list, “Paranormal Activity” second and Alex Proyas’ “Knowing” (A$7.6m) placing third.
Ellen Pittleman, http://hybridentus.com, is a veteran studio executive based in Los Angeles. Most recently, she served as SVP, International Co-Productions and Worldwide Acquisitions for Paramount Pictures. She also launched the DVD Premiere group there, with films including Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and the sequel to the $100MM+ “Save the Last Dance.” Working from a marketing and distribution perspective, she consults on strategic planning, deal negotiation, acquisitions, film library valuation and feature development with clients from Rio to London to Beijing. She’s also currently developing a feature on George Foreman’s comeback years, among other projects.