Local fare back in business

SYDNEY — The Aussie release season has begun with a bang after strong debuts were registered by Hopscotch’s doc “Bra Boys” and Palace’s comedy “Razzle Dazzle.”

Aussie films generally avoid opening during the summer season, due to the overload of Oscar contenders. Now that it’s fall Down Under, distribs of local fare are back in business.

“Bra Boys,” a doc narrated by Russell Crowe about his friends, some of whom are criminals and members of the notorious Bra Boys surf gang, was the second-highest-grossing new release, after U’s “Hot Fuzz.”

Despite a limited 47-screen debut, pic penned and directed by tyro Sunny Abberton returned A$390,000 ($310,000), the fourth-highest-grossing film of the frame and the highest opening gross ever recorded by an Aussie doc.

“Razzle Dazzle — A Journey Into Dance” finished the week-end in fifth spot with a 98-print debut delivering $280,000.

The feel-good mockumentary, about the competitive dance scene in Oz directed by Darren Ashton, stars Kerry Armstrong and Brit Ben Miller, and had its world preem at the Berlin Film Festival.

Industry is banking on a full return to form in 2007 after two years of moderate growth following a spell when auds shunned local fare.

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