Oz ’92 B.O. hits $ 216 mil

The Australian box office in 1992 maintained the growth recorded in 1990 and 1991, posting a 2.6% increase in B.O. gross to $ A322.6 million ($ 216 million). Admissions rose only 0.5% to 45.49 million.

The year also saw an Australian film, “Strictly Ballroom,” take first place for the first time since “Crocodile Dundee 2” in 1988. The Baz Luhrmann pic grossed $ 12.5 million and will easily crack the elite $ A20 million ($ 13.5 million) mark.

While B.O. gains aren’t as strong as the past few years, maintaining levels in a recessionary climate is good news, says Scott Neeson, chairman of the Motion Picture Distributors Assn. of Australia and general manager of Hoyts Fox Columbia/TriStar.

Suburban multiplexes continued to eat away at city business. B.O. contribution from the suburbs rose almost 7% to $ 114.8 million; city business dropped 8.73% to $ 52.24 million, biggest fall since multis began in 1986.

1992 also marked the first time an R film, restricted to over-18s, has made the top 10; in fact, “Basic Instinct” was the No. 2 film for the year, grossing almost $ 9 million.

Overall, says Neeson, this year’s top pix reflect a greater diversity of films for a wider age group.

Roadshow, which reps Touchstone, Warner Bros. and its own product, recorded the top combined market share of 39%.

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