Hollywood pics continue to dominate

SYDNEY — The Australian film industry halved its share of the domestic box office in 2002, with no films grossing north of $A10 million ($5.8 million), as Hollywood pics continued to dominate.

Statistics from the Australian Film Commission show domestic pics returned $24.6 million, or a 4.9% share of the $497 million total.

That compares with a 7.8% share in 2001, which was boosted by “Moulin Rouge.”

Nineteen Oz features, with a total budget of $85.8 million, screened last year. U.S. films repped more than 66% of the 258 titles released and commanded more than 80% of the total B.O.

“As always, this is a David and Goliath story,” Australian Film Commission chief exec Kim Dalton said. “Total budgets of Australian films represent 1% of the total budgets of U.S. films released during the year. In this context, 4.9% box office share is an impressive result.”

Dalton flagged the AFC’s determination to safeguard Australia’s film subsidies and local TV quotas from the threat of Hollywood pressure, as the Oz and U.S. governments negotiate a Free Trade Agreement.

“The U.S. already has significant access to Australian markets, and the AFC argues that Australia must preserve its right to develop and support its audiovisual media to achieve our cultural and social objectives,” he said.

In 2002 the hot properties were Roadshow’s lawn bowling comedy “Crackerjack” ($4.5 million), aboriginal drama “Rabbit-Proof Fence” ($4.4 million) and Hoyts’ caper “Dirty Deeds” ($2.9 million).

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