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Oz distrib info reveals UIP took '04 honors

SYDNEY — The Australian headquarters of the Hollywood studios have eased up on a ban on reporting market share after deciding that full disclosure would help the local industry.

This week’s edition of Australian Film Commission publication Get the Picture provides tables showing the breakdown among the independent distribs and UIP, BVI, Roadshow/Warner Bros., Sony and Fox in 2003 and 2004.

Information was previously available only to Motion Picture Distributors Assn. of Australia members and Nielsen EDI subscribers.

UIP was the dominant distrib last year with A$241 million ($184 million), for a 27% market share, from 38 titles including top pic “Shrek 2” ($38 million).

BVI took the crown in 2003, with $161 million, a 25% market share from 36 titles including “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” ($19 million) and “Bruce Almighty” ($15 million).

BVI recorded a 9% drop in market share from 2003 to 2004, but the biggest change was in the number of titles released by indies, rising from 97 to 154.

Key indie titles in 2004 were Icon Films’ “The Passion of the Christ” ($11 million) and Hopscotch release “Fahrenheit 9/11” ($6 million). But the ratio of number of releases to earnings confirms exhibs’ complaint that the market had been flooded with too many titles with insufficient marketing.

“The MPDAA over the last 12 months has dedicated a lot of energy to getting its systems right,” said deputy chairman and BVI Australia veep Alan Finney. “We’ve now got much more information than I can ever recall.”

Industryites can access much of the MPDAA’s database on the Internet, which Finney expects will help detail industry trends.