A massive analysis of almost every feature film that received significant funding from Screen Australia since the agency’s inception in 2008 has revealed the most successful Australian movies of the last nine years.
Respected film journalist Sandy George and Screen Australia recoupment manager Bernadette Rheinberger looked at a total of 94 films that received funding, within certain parameters (documentaries were excluded, as were films that received grants rather than investments, and big budget films, such as Hacksaw Ridge and Mad Max: Fury Road, that did not receive direct investment but benefited from the Producer Offset).
The most startling fact is that none of the films surveyed are in the black yet, having so far failed to recoup their production, marketing, and exhibition costs – although some are very, very close. The report cautions against taking that info as a piece of doomsaying, pointing out correctly that films have a long tail, financially speaking, many individuals and organisations have profited from these films even if they aren’t in overall profit, and besides, Screen Australia’s remit is “…ensuring Australia has quality local content that connects with audiences and the industry is sustainable so that films keep getting made.”
In any case, the ten best-performing films of the period – those closest to making a profit – are as follows:
- Red Hill
- The Babadook
- Red Dog
- The Sapphires
- The Rover
- The Railway Man
- The Dressmaker
- Animal Kingdom
That list demonstrates an admirable range of content, genre, characters and styles, including science fiction, horror, historical drama and more. There are three feature directing debuts, two female directors, and one indigenous director represented. It puts to bed a few longstanding bits of inherited wisdom about the kind of content Australians want to watch. It’s certainly nice to see Patrick Hughes’ Red Hill topping the list – his latest offering, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, looks like a blast, too.
The entire report is a fascinating read, and couched in easy to understand terminology, so don’t worry about getting lost in a wilderness of numbers – you can find the whole thing on the Screen Australia blog.