Poor return for Aussie features at the local box-office in 2013

John Wood as Merv in Backyard Ashes which grossed just $43,983 at the Australian Box Office according to Box Office Mojo.

John Wood as Merv in Backyard Ashes which grossed just $43,983 at the Australian box-office according to Box Office Mojo.

It seems only a few Australians were willing to handover their hard-earned cash to see an Australian film in 2013.

According to website Box Office Mojo the earliest flick to feature in the top 250 films is Mark Lamprell’s Goddess at number 93 with a total gross of $1,631,548. Robert Connolly’s The Turning came in second at number 112 with $1,084,695.

With a very limited release Backyard Ashes was the lowest film to appear on the list at number 226 with a total gross of $43,983. Not surprising considering the poor marketing campaign surrounding the film, although it did have a great website. 

In a recent Cinema Australia survey 26 random people were asked if they had heard of Backyard Ashes with a total response of 0. 16 of the random people surveyed had heard of or seen The Turning with only 3 people having heard of or seen Goddess

Some people would argue The Great Gatsby should be recognised but we’re not including American productions filmed in Australia. Sorry Baz.

Some notable films which didn’t feature on the list are 100 Bloody Acres, Patrick and The Darkside.

Here’s how the rest of the list looked:

1 (93). Goddess $1,631,548

2 (112). The Turning $1,086,848 

3 (113). Return to Nim’s Island $1,084,695

4 (117). Drift $912, 636

5 (143). The Rocket $311,785

6 (148). Mystery Road $280,702

7 (159). Save Your Legs $192,041

8 (166). Satellite Boy $161,780

9 (175). Adoration $129,795

10 (226). Backyard Ashes $43,983

Information correct as of 22, December 2013. Total gross sourced from http://www.boxofficemojo.com

6 thoughts on “Poor return for Aussie features at the local box-office in 2013

  1. Poorly researched. Your numbers are way too old (understandable, since Box Office Mojo is in no way an authority regarding Australian cinema). And of course “The Great Gatsby” is mainly an Australian film. Since when do Australian films have to be set in Australia? Production control, and almost all of cast and crew, especially in the creative dept. are Australian, except for three leads. For more complete and accurate numbers, look here (December 3rd, 2013):

    http://if.com.au/2013/12/03/article/2013-another-down-year-for-Aussie-films/HNYVTGBVTC.html

    Btw. I watched my 400th Australian feature film yesterday. I am German and I knew of all the films you mentioned above beforehand. People who are interested in local cinema should be able to find enough information on the internet. This is not 1980, folks. I know which films are in production now and which films will be released in 2014 (looking forward most to “Tracks” with Mia Wasikowska). People who complain about lack of marketing as an excuse to not learn about new releases are just lazy, the real problem is that Australian films have only limited distribution. Your article just confirms the lazy attitude of Australians regarding Australian cinema.

  2. Hi. Backyard Ashes has gone to now have taken more than 300K and has opened in Metro cinemas. It has taken more in earnings than many films with 10 times its budget on production and P&A. You mention a ‘poor marketnig campaign’..it was a regional build to spread word of mouth and its climbing to the metro market.

  3. “With a very limited release Backyard Ashes was the lowest film to appear on the list at number 226 with a total gross of $43,983. Not surprising considering the poor marketing campaign surrounding the film, although it did have a great website. ” The film only opened in November of last year in regional areas and at this point has taken close to 350K. Considering the low budget this is impressive compared to high budget duds over the last few months. The marketing was more word of mouth than a standard P&A spend and has paid off.

    • G’day,

      Thanks for your comments. We love receiving them.

      The article was correct at time of printing (Dec 2013) and we stand by our ‘poor marketing campaign’ comments.

      The fact Backyard Ashes has earned close to $350,000 at the box office is great news and incredibly exciting.

      We have worked in the Advertising/PR/Marketing industry for 11 years and consider a ‘word of mouth’ campaign to be poor compared to the many more, cheap options available. Just imagine the box office haul the film could have earned if it had invested a little more in a simple marketing campaign.

      We hope for the best when it comes to any Australian release, with no exception for Backyard Ashes.

      Thanks Again,

      The Cinema Australia team.

  4. Pingback: Netflix Australia Is Certainly Successful, But Is It Doing Enough For Australian Films? | Junkee

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