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Not such a g’day for Oz box office

MPDAA withholding figures in hopes of impending good news

Was the Aussie box office down 8% or 10% in 2005 compared with 2004?

Both figures have been published this week by pundits having a wager in the absence of a formal announcement.

The Motion Picture Distributors’ Assn, of Australia is always slow to release its year-end grosses.

The long summer vacation, it says, means the figures cannot be delivered until the second or third week of January.

But this year industryites will have to wait until the end of the month and not just because one of the MPDAA’s two tallymen is on vacation.

The org. is withholding the figures in the hope that it can counter the poor 2005 box office result with good news — that January has been boffo.

Already the weekend tally is 17% ahead of 2005, the full week is up 16% off the back of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Fun With Dick and Jane” and a strong New Year’s Day preem for “Chicken Little.”

But here’s the thing. By diverting attention to the strong January the MPDAA will simply be underscoring how very bad 2005 was.

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