'Avengers: Infinity Wars' and 'Peter Rabbit' Top Australia's Box Office in 2018

Peter Rabbit Still 1 - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

'Peter Rabbit' led Australian films' share of the local box office, which was the highest since 2015.

Australia's box office hit near-record highs in 2018 for both overall revenue and the share taken by domestic films, the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) said Tuesday. 

Total box office grosses were $888 million (AUS$1.245 billion), just shy of 2016’s record $898 million (AUS$1.259 billion) and up 3.6 percent on 2017. Disney titles Avengers: Infinity Wars, which grossed $44.1 million, and Incredibles 2, which took $32.6 million, were the top-ranked films at the Aussie box office for 2018 overall. 

Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody came in third with a 2018 cume of $30.2 million. The Golden Globe best picture winner is still beloved of Aussie audiences, now in its 12th week in release and with a total gross to date of $34.2 million. 

The other top performing films of the year were Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal, $25.3 million), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony Pictures $23.5 million), A Star Is Born (Warner Bros $23.4 million) and The Greatest Showman (Fox $16.63 million). Rounding out the Top 10 films for 2018 was Sony Pictures’ Australian collaboration Peter Rabbit ($19.06 million), which was also the top ranking Australian release at the local box office. 

Joel Pearlman, MPDAA chairman and CEO of Roadshow Films, said, “Australian audiences confirmed their love of cinema in 2018, with the year’s diverse lineup demonstrating that cinema continues to provide a great value out of home experience for a broad audience.” 

Australian films achieved a solid 4.5 percent share of the local box office, with over 90 titles taking a total of $39.8 million (AUS$55.9 million). That’s the best year since 2015, when Mad Max: Fury Road and The Dressmaker also led a share of 4.5 percent.   

Sony Pictures proved a savvy backer of local film, with Sony and Animal Logic’s Peter Rabbit taking $19.06 million and Bruce Beresford’s 1950s-set coming-of-age drama Ladies in Black, starring Angourie Rice, grossing $8.56 million. Simon Baker’s Breath and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country were other standouts, garnering both critical and audience success, according to the MPDAA.

Australian documentaries also proved their appeal. Two biographical films, Gurrumul, focused on indigenous musician Gurrumul Yumupingu, and Working Class Boy, the story of Australian rock icon Jimmy Barneswere the second and third highest grossing of the 67 documentaries released in cinemas in 2018. 

“For Australian films to finish the year with a 4.5 percent share of box office is remarkable, considering our 92 titles were competing with 908 foreign films for cinema space. Of the 92 Australian films in the market in 2018, 63 were new titles,” Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said.

Several records were nevertheless broken at Australian cinemas in 2018. The national holiday on Anzac Day (April 25) became the highest grossing single day ever at the Australian box office, with $7.99 million taken that day. 

In total, 758 new films were released in Australian cinemas in 2018, marking the highest number of releases ever.