HONG KONG – Russell Crowe’s “The Water Diviner” has become the top grossing local film of 2014 in its native Australia.

The film, about a father returning to Turkey where his sons were involved in some of the most deadly fighting of WWI, was released on Dec. 26 and had scored A$5.65 million (US$4.61 million) by the end of Dec. 31. That meant it overtook “Wolf Creek 2” which had been the previous top scoring title of 2014 with A$4.7 million (US$3.84 million), and also “The Railway Man,” which had been a December 2013 release, scoring A$5.5 million in 2014 and A$7.3 million (US$5.96 million) in total.

Crowe stars in and directed the film.

As of Sunday (Jan. 4, 2015) “The Water Diviner had stretched its total to A$8.4 million (US$6.85 million), according to distributor Entertainment One.

“We are delighted that Australian audiences have responded with such enthusiasm to the film,” said Mike Baard, MD of Universal Pictures Australia, and Sandie Don, head of distribution at eOne, in a statement.

Last year was a dismal one for Australian films at their local box office, with a number of high profile flops and only four films exceeding A$1 million. Major disappointments included “Tracks,” “Predestination,” “Felony,” Robert Pattinson-starring Cannes title “The Rover,” and “These Final Hours.”

The year is expected to show gross box office down from 2013’s A$1.1 billion (US$898 million) total and Australian market share at below 3%.

Official figures from the Motion Pictures Distributors Association of Australia will be published towards the end of the month.