Representation of Australian Film in the Media

Australian cinema is powerful and it does not get the recognition that it deserves.But in Australia the film industry is just not profitable as it gets hardly any promotion. Instead print media outlets and online social media sites tend focus on what is coming from Hollywood.

In the 1970s and 1980s there were plenty of Australian films that got people going to the cinema. For Example Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Mad Max (1979) and Crocodile Dundee (1986).  These films were considered as box office smashes and these films are just a small representation of how profitable the film industry was back then. A lot of these films were gaining a worldwide audience as people started to take notice. CEO of the Australian and NSW film Tanya Chambers stated:

“We have become disconnected from the audience, the notion of a must see local film is something that we have lost in Australia” (Bosanquet 2007, p. 98).

This is quite a concern as the Australian film industry has now become close to being unprofitable. The concept of what is a box office success in Australia has changed as well. Films that make 500 000 to 800 000 are considered to be a success.

There have been times where Australia films have generated more publicity overseas but still couldn’t do enough at home. Animal Kingdom (2010) won the World Cinematic Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival. It grossed 6 million worldwide but only made 1 million in Australia. Recently The Babadook was critically a success in the United States of America. It played at a number of film festivals in America including South by Southwest and Sundance.

If we look over the past ten years of Australian films that have been highly successful at the box office we can understand that distribution and marketing are essential for an Australian film to succeed. Wolf Creek (2005) was made on 1 million; it grossed 30 million worldwide and grossed 4 million in Australia. The film generated publicity for a whole year before it got a theatrical release in its home country. It received appraisal at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. In 2011 Red Dog became the 11th highest grossing Australian film. It got a release at the Berlin film festival.

Both of these films offered something new which attracted audiences.

There are two solutions in order for an Australian film to be profitable in Australia.

  1. More money spent on distribution, marketing and advertising
  2. Getting a release in other countries before being released in its home country.

Australians need to get behind the local film industry because I have seen some wonderful Australian films over the past few years like Ten Canoes, Mystery Road and Charlie’s Country. These films are examples of great Australian films that don’t get enough notice and they deserve a how lot more. For people who read this I ask you this, when was the last time you saw and Australian film at the cinema?


McKenzie, J. & Walls, W.D. 2013, “Australian films at the Australian box office: performance, distribution, and subsidies”,Journal of cultural economics, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 247-269.

Bosanquet, T. 2007, Behind the Scenes: Marketing and Distributing Australian Films, The Australian Teachers of Media Inc, St Kilda.


8 thoughts on “Representation of Australian Film in the Media

  1. Good concept, i have a buddy in the film and media industry and this whole oncept scares him quite a lot, he talks about it quite often. I like how you included some ideas to improve to industry, it shows that you really do care about this idea, and the use of many great examples shows that you genuinely appreciate good australian film. Well written and good use of references 🙂

  2. Good job here mate, making a really good point when it comes to the current state of our movie industry. movies like the Babadook and Ten Canoes i haven’t even heard of before, which goes to show the point that your making. especially like your recommendations for what needs to be done, here’s hoping someone picks up on it

  3. This blog presented some really interesting view points that I hadn’t considered before. I agree that Australian cinema is under represented even in our home country. I loved the way you laid out the blog so it was easy to read and provided heaps of examples (of which I’ll have to go and watch) in order to illustrate your point. This blog post has left me wondering how well other countries films aside from Hollywood’s do in Australian Box Offices, and if the problem is simply that Australians just aren’t aware enough of the diversity of films available. I also love the fact that you purposed solutions to the problem you outlined, it shows through thought and analysis. Great blog post, good job 🙂

  4. Hey Ruben I’m liking the topic you focused on doing,and i believe that Australian film should get more recognition.This blog was a good read. I especially liked it when you spoke about the solutions in order for Australian film to become more profitable. Thank for good read ruben and good good luck with the rest of your blogs 🙂

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