Australia passes U.S. in per-capita admissions


Screen Australia recently released their latest statistics on cinemas in Australia. They list the number of screens in Australia as 1,994 at the end of 2010, up 10 screens from the previous year. The percentage of digital screens increased from 15% to 23% in the same period. Australia ranks 15th in the world for number of cinema screens and at the same spot for cinema attendance, with 92 million tickets purchased in 2010, up from 90.7 million in 2009.

For the first time, Australia has overtaken the U.S. in the number of admissions per population. Iceland came first with 5.4 visits per head, followed by Singapore at 4.5 visits, Australia at 4.3 visits and the U.S. fourth with 3.9 visits to the cinema per year per capita. Our neighbors New Zealand were sixth with 3.6. Australia was eighth in world box-office revenue, achieving a record $1,041 million, slightly over one-tenth of the U.S. result.
Australian producers do better than many other countries in getting their films into cinemas. 74% of all features made between 2000 and 2008 managed to get a cinema release in Australia by the end of 2010.

Stuart Beattie, director of Tomorrow When the War Began, will start shooting the present-day horror feature I Frankenstein in Australia in January. The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name, which, of course, is inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Aaron Eckhart will play the title character. Lionsgate will distribute in the U.S., Hopscotch in Australia, and Lakeshore will handle international sales.

It is with great sadness that we report the recent death of Mark Safarty, chief executive of the Independent Cinemas Association of Australia. “Mark fought tirelessly for independent cinemas, with a vision and perseverance seldom encountered,” the ICAA board said in a statement. Mark had been active in independent cinema for many years, heading up the Dendy Cinema chain from 2000 to 2007.

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