Older and younger patrons attended fewer movies in 2014

Day and Date Down Under

Recent data from Roy Morgan research shows a dropping off of older and younger patrons visiting Australian cinemas, comparing 2014 with 2013. The 50+ age group dropped from 30.3% to 29.8% while 14- to 17-year-olds dropped from 8.8% to 8.1%. There was a slight increase in the 35- to 49-year-old bracket. Many analysts feel that the change is mainly the result of the mix of films that was released last year, and that this year may see a swing back to past percentages.

The number of older patrons visiting cinemas was strongly reflected in the box-office results for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The film jumped to the number-one spot in its second week of release following a very powerful debut.

After leading the way with a $20 top ticket price for non-3D movies last year, Palace cinemas has retreated to a sub-$20 top. The other cinema that went to $20, the independent Cremorne Orpheum, has retained its $20 top ticket price. Both cinemas also have discount days, concessions and matinee specials which make their average ticket price well below $20.

Pre-production has begun on two LEGO Movie sequels at Animal Logic in Sydney. Ninjago, in which ninjas, samurais and sensei combine to fight dragons, snake men and a warlord, starts production shortly for a September 2016 release. That will be followed by LEGO Batman, which is due in cinemas in February 2017. Animal Logic is also in early stages of development on a live-action Astro Boy feature after having acquired rights to make a new movie based on the popular character.

Capella is a small town in the Central Highlands of Queensland. John White owned and ran the local cinema from 1957 to 1984, and he is currently a volunteer at the Capella Pioneer Village, a major attraction that is part agricultural museum and part historical venue. White now wants to set up the Capella cinema museum as part of the Village. He has many of the manual projectors that were used in his own cinema and has augmented them with an automatic projector sold from the nearby Roma cinemas when they changed to digital. The exhibit will concentrate on the projection box showing the earliest projectors through to the last ones before digital took over. The project could take some time before opening, as he can only work on it part-time, but he has a real passion for the project. "It's all about preserving cinema in the bush, because this was basically all the entertainment the bush had," he noted.

New Zealand director Lee Tamahori shot to international fame with his debut feature, Once Were Warriors, following which he was offered a number of international features including Along Came A Spider and Die Another Day. Tamahori has just returned to New Zealand to direct the local drama The Patriarch, based on the book Bulibasha by Witi Ihimaera (Whale Rider). The story concerns the youngest son from a Maori family of shearers coming into conflict with his grandfather. Filming started at the end of March.

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.