Australia and New Zealand enjoy robust box office


Australia and New Zealand achieved strong box-office results in 2012. Each registered increases over the rather lackluster results of 2011, and each had the second highest box-office total on record. (2010 was the record year for both countries.)

New Zealand box office rose by 7% to reach NZ$173.1. "It is terrific to see the level of bounce-back in box office achieved in 2012 after the industry experienced two significant events that understandably impacted business negatively in 2011: namely, the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 and the Rugby World Cup in September the same year," said Peter Garner, president of the New Zealand Motion Picture Distributors Association. "New Zealand audiences have responded extremely well to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in both 3D and the new High Frame Rate 3D format, plus the broadly spread genres of films on offer throughout 2012 attracted audiences of all ages to cinemas throughout the country."

About 57% of the 407 screens in New Zealand have digital projection, with more expected to convert during 2013.

Australia had a smaller rise over 2011. The 2012 total was A$1,125,536,000, a 2.8% increase. Commenting on the results, Marc Wooldridge, chairman of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, 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 Avengers was the top-grossing film in both Australia and New Zealand, followed by Skyfall in calendar 2012. It should be noted, however, that The Hobbit, which was filmed in New Zealand and only released at the end of 2012, has during the first weeks of 2013 passed The Avengers to become the highest-grossing 2012-released film in New Zealand.

One of the top-grossing local films of 2005 was the outback thriller Wolf Creek, featuring John Jarratt as a bushman who could be rather nasty when the urge took him. Jarratt will feature again in the sequel, which has just started filming in South Australia with Greg Mclean again in the director’s chair.

Local film The Sapphires, which The Weinstein Company releases in the U.S. on March 22, emerged the clear winner at the Australian Academy Awards held in Sydney at the end of January. It walked away with 11 statues including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

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