H’w’d pix ruled Oz box office in ’05

'Wolf Creek' best local earner with $4.4 mil

Hollywood dominated the Australian box office with 81% market share in 2005, down 5% on the previous year.

Aussie films grabbed only 2.8% of the B.O, earning A$23.1 million ($17.4 million) to double 2004’s B.O. share but coming in way below the 10-year average of 4.8%.

Though one of the lowest-budget pics released, outback thriller “Wolf Creek” outgrossed 20 other titles to become the best local earner with $4.4 million.

Roadshow Films acquired the Greg McLean-helmed title from the Weinstein Co. and fast-tracked release to capitalize on strong publicity from foreign fest screenings.

Five pics grossed more than $1.5 million, showing a broad return to form for the local biz. Among them are “Little Fish,” Rowan Woods’ recovering heroin addict drama starring Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving, which grossed $2.8 million, and AFI-winning cancer drama “Look Both Ways,” which tallied $2.1 million.

U.K.-Oz co-productions “The Oyster Farmer” and Sony pickup “The Proposition” grossed $1.8 million and $1.7 million, respectively.

Some 21 Aussie titles were released, including five docs.

Pics from Blighty snagged 10.6% of the B.O., doubling that country’s 2004 share, largely due to U.K./U.S. co-production “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

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