A good year on screen
Australian films made $40 million at the local box office last year - 4.6 per cent of all takings. The figure, released by the Australian Film Commission, is up on 2005's (local films then accounted for 2.8 per cent of total box office, with $23.1 million in takings.)
But it is still far below the record, set in 2000 when local movies made $54.2 million, 7.9 per cent of ticketing receipts, thanks to the likes of The Wog Boy, Looking for Alibrandi and Chopper.
The films that made up the 2006 list of top earners were a diverse bunch. The animated Happy Feet - in release for just six days last year - led the charge with $11.1 million from ticket sales. It is still at the top of the chart with takings of $22 million and likely to top the 2007 Australian earnings chart too.
The beloved Kenny was second ($7.6 million), followed by the drama Jindabyne ($5.3 million) and Arnhem Land fable Ten Canoes ($3.3 million). War drama Kokoda and the comedy Boytown shared fifth spot ($3.1 million each).
Ten Canoes producer Julie Ryan said she was delighted that the film, made in close collaboration with Arnhem Land's Ramingining community, appealed well beyond an Aboriginal audience.
"It was always the intent of the Ramingining community for Ten Canoes to be widely seen so they could share their culture with an indiginous and non-indiginous audience," she said.
Happy Feet, written and directed by Australian George Miller, with animation by Sydney company Animal Logic, is on track to become the most internationally successful Australian movie ever, with takings of $410 million so far.
The public affairs director of Animal Logic, Greg Smith, said the film put Australia's animation and effects talent on the map. "Projects like Happy Feet are essential for giving Australian talent the exposure and experience to be world class," he said.
Australian films most likely to do well this year include December Boys, starring Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe; Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger, starring Toni Collette; Romulus, My Father, starring Eric Bana; and Wolf Creek director Greg McLean's mad croc follow-up Rogue, starring US heart-throb Michael Vartan.
I also saw the below bite-sized article in the paper and it amused me to no end. "Last minute promotional commitments in the UK" standing for "I couldn't even sell out a free show, let alone one where people have to pay, so I'm not coming." Serves Sandi Thom right. That "I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker" song is retched.