Australian Box Office Slides 2.3 Percent in 2013

Iron Man 3 VFX H
Digital Domain

"Iron Man 3" was the year's top-grossing film down under, taking $34 million.

SYDNEY – The Australian box office once again surpassed the local benchmark of 1 billion Australian dollars in gross revenue for 2013, but the year's total fell 2.3 perfect compared with 2012. The 2013 total of $965.31 million (1.10 billion Australian dollars) also fell well short of the record $992.87 million (1.128 billion Australian) set in 2011, according to figures released Monday by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia.

Franchises and sequels led the way down under throughout the year.

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The top grossing film of 2013 in Australia was Disney Marvel’s Iron Man 3, which brought in over $34.24 million, again well behind 2012's top grosser, The Avengers, which posted $46.8 million. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, distributed here by Roadshow Films, grossed $31.95 million, and Despicable Me 2 was the third ranked film for the year, bringing in $31.41 million.

The top 10 films for the year accounted for 27 percent of the box office.

“[The year] finished strongly and delivered another tremendous lineup of entertaining and successful films, with a total of 32 films achieving the significant box office milestone of grossing more than $10 million in Australia. Australians continue to be among the most frequent cinemagoers in the world, and [Australia] is acknowledged as an important and relevant contributor to the global box office,” said Marc Wooldridge, chairman of the MPDAA.

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The total cume of $27.05 million for Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby, leading the locally produced films, positioned the Warner Bros feature as the sixth most popular Australian film of all time at the local box office. However, figures due out this week are expected to show a slide to one of the lowest levels in nearly a decade for Australian films' share of the local box office. The 28 Aussie films released in 2013 took just $33.83 million, or a share of 3.5 percent, according to industry analysts.

The bright spot for distributors was in the final holiday week of 2013, with the year ending on a record-breaking note. The week starting on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) became the highest grossing week of all time at the Australian box office, with $43.80 million in revenue. The haul came thanks to new releases The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Frozen, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Philomena and Australian independent film The Railway Man, as well as strong holdover business from films playing into that week, including Anchorman 2, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 and American Hustle.