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‘Ballroom’ dancing to top of Aussie B.O.

Australian film “Strictly Ballroom” this week passed into the exclusive $ A10 million ($ 7.3 million) B.O. club, and is almost certain to crack the $ A15 ($ 11 million) mark, normally reserved for top U.S. blockbusters.

That puts the feel-good dance romance among only a handful of local films to reach such heights.

Most recent were Peter Weir’s “Green Card” (shot entirely in the U.S.) and “Young Einstein.”

On current earnings, “Ballroom” will become one of the top five all-time Aussie films, alongside “Crocodile Dundee” and “The Man From Snowy River.”

At press time, the film had grossed more than $ 8 million in eight weeks. Distrib Ronin Films is sure it will top $ 11 million from a run that will easily stretch to Christmas and beyond, per general manager Richard Payten.

Print count has risen from 64 to 114 to cope with demand, and P&A costs have topped $ 580,000. But Payten doesn’t expect additional advertising until Christmas, now that momentum is rolling.

Most importantly, he adds, the film has “well and truly” found its target youth market. Strong return business, of up to nine viewings, also has been reported.

Pic, which was the audience favorite at the Toronto fest, is showing in London and Paris.

A 70-theater Japanese release begins from mid-December via Nippon Herald, which has made the film its main Christmas release. Miramax has the film for the U.S.

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