Film took in a $14 million haul

AUSTRALIA

Overall, Aussie B.O. was up 15% in 2009, with no further plunges in homevid and Oz’s first-ever title to breach the $A100 million mark in “Avatar.”

Aussie films were a hit for a change in a broad range of genres, with local fare accounting for 5% of the B.O., the biggest share in nearly a decade. Hopscotch stood out, handling the biggest pic in its history — and the biggest local film at the B.O. — with the Bruce Beresford-helmed “Mao’s Last Dancer,” which took a $14 million haul.

“It’s not without its challenges, but we’re still doing good business,” says Hopscotch’s topper Troy Lum. “The theatrical market is strong for the right things, DVD has held water better than we thought and we are starting to get some money flowing through from the digital sector.”

Footprint Films and Transmission have both a critical and B.O. hit with indigenous pic “Samson & Delilah,” which grossed $2.9 million, and political thriller “Balibo” which took $1 million. Madman Entertainment had a surprise boutique win with the resurrection of 1971 classic “Wake in Fright” taking $300,000, and won awards and a respectable aud with Hugo Weaving starrer “Last Ride” taking $350,000.

Total 2009 box office: $1 billion, up 15%

Total 2009 releases: 418

Top 2009 indie film: “Mao’s Last Dancer,” $14 million

Top 2010 indie pickups:

• “The Kids Are Alright,” Hopscotch

• “Bellamy,” Hopscotch

• “Blue Valentine,” Palace Films

• “The Loved Ones,” Madman

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