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Oz study puts planning first

Better scripting, marketing, production also needed

SYDNEY — Many Australian films are rushed through production and pushed into release without adequate planning.

So says a landmark Oz distribution study by the Australian Film Commission. The study also said independent distributors that handle Oz product are in bad fiscal shape and are being squeezed by increased competition from majors and muscled out of multiplexes.

What works?

Through research and interviews with distribs, the study by the marketing and development agency found Oz films need better scripting, marketing and production, while filmmakers require enhanced marketing skills and test screenings should perhaps be used to better define marketing campaigns.

While the report notes Oz screens, admissions and box office have all almost doubled in the past eight years to 1,576, 80 million and $396 million respectively, Oz films haven’t shared this fortune, partly because city screens declined from 39% to 11% of total box office in favor of the suburbs, which are fonder of Hollywood fare.

As a result, Oz films slumped from 1994’s 10% box office share to only 4% last year.