The Great Gatsby, Happy Feet, Moulin Rouge… All Australian movies (who would have thought) and together made over $80million in the Box Office (Screen Australia 2014). Clearly, the content of Australian movies isn’t the issue of the the slump in the Aussie film market.
The core problem of the Australian film industry is not the content or quality of the films, it’s Australia’s approach to releasing the films. Australian films are not only limited in distribution, with 82% of Australian films being released on less that 100 cinema screens, and 39% are distributed to less than 20 cinema screens (Screen Australia 2009, p. 3), but Australia is too focused on ticket sales and box office hits, rather than on the overall performance of their films in a more general sense.
The outdated audience measurement system Australia has in place to try compete with Hollywood hits is clearly not the way to go. Through extensive research of Australian films and Australian audiences, which I will admit I knew nothing about, I came across a Screen Australia video researching Australians use of screens.
Australians are generally moving away from cinema screens and becoming more involved with their computer screens and TV screens. Therefore, the Australian film industry should tap into this unknown source to generate larger distribution and acknowledgement of their films.
Some Australian films are far ahead of the Australian film industry and creating significant word of mouth communication through making their films available online, rather than in multiplexes. Australian film, ‘The Tunnel‘ did exactly this. The film was widely available on torrent sites for users to download to free. As bizarre as it sounds, it actually worked. In doing so, The Tunnel reached over 4 million viewers, sold over 25,000 DVD’s, over 800,000 video streams and went on to create an iPad app to release their film (Harris 2013).
By knowing more about their consumers, the Australian film industry can tap into this resource and create a new audience measurement system, rather than that of ‘box office hits’.
Harris, L 2013, How do you solve a problem like the Australian film industry?, Junkee, viewed 27 September 2014, <http://junkee.com/how-do-we-solve-a-problem-like-the-australian-film-industry/21379>.
Screen Australia 2014, Top 100 Australian films of all time, ranked by total reported gross Australian box office as of January 2014, Screen Australia, viewed 27 September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/mrboxaust.aspx>.
Screen Australia 2009, Australian films in the marketplace: analysis of release strategies and box office performance, Screen Australia, viewed 27 September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/cmspages/handler404.aspx?404;https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au:443/getmedia/f78eb112-340e-4760-96c0-ad4d436f8a8e/Release_boxoffice_20Nov09.pdf>.