Australian films contribute 4.5% to second biggest box office year

• Australian audiences have voted with their feet

• 758 films generated 2018 movie tickets sales of $1.245 billion
• Average ticket price dropped from $14.13 in 2017 to $13.86 in 2018

Australian audiences have voted with their feet – going to the movies remains a popular pastime.

The Australian box office closed out 2018 up 3.6% at $1.245 billion. That makes it the second-best year ever after $1.259b in 2016.

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

Disney’s Avengers: Infinity Wars took line honours, closing 2018 at $61.8m, followed by Incredibles 2, also from Disney, at $45.7m.

Still playing into its 12th week in cinemas at the end of 2018, the 2018 cume for Bohemian Rhapsody (Fox) was $42.4m, with Black Panther (Disney) at $40.8 and Deadpool 2 (Fox) at $36m.

The other top performing films of the year were Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal $35.5m), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony Pictures $32.9m), A Star is Born (Warner Bros $32.8m) and The Greatest Showman (Fox $27.5m4). Rounding out the Top 10 films was Sony Pictures’ Australian collaboration Peter Rabbit ($26.7m).

While cinema operators continued to install comfy reclining seating, to invest in the latest in hi-tech picture and sound and to increase the range and quality of food and beverage choices, audiences also benefited from a drop in average ticket prices: from $14.13 in 2017 to $13.86 in 2018.

Several Box Office records were broken during the year, notably Anzac Day became the highest grossing single day ever at the Australian Box Office with $11.2m taken that day.

758 films were released in Australian cinemas in 2018 – more than ever before – giving audiences a choice of films from over 39 countries.

2018 has been a great year for Australian films headed by Peter Rabbit (Sony Pictures $26.7m) and Ladies In Black (Sony Pictures $12m). Australian films represented a notable 4.5% of the total box office. Simon Baker’s Breath and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country were stand-outs, garnering both critical and audience approval.

Australian documentaries have again proven their appeal. Two insightful biographical films, Gurrumul and Working Class Boy, were the second and third highest grossing of the 67 documentaries released in cinemas in 2018.

A research survey by SARA (Screen Audience Research Australia) shows that cinema visits by frequent cinema-goers (once a month or fortnightly) have not declined. Importantly, these patrons have increased the average number of films they see each year – from 13 visits per year in 2016 to 16 visits in 2018.

The rise in cinema revenue is mirrored by the downturn in movie piracy, which is showing a decline in both the number of pirates and the frequency of activity for both teens (12-17yo) and adults (18-64yo). Creative Content Australia’s 2018 research study confirms that consumer behaviours and attitudes have changed.

Significantly, piracy is no longer perceived to be the prevailing social norm. For many years, the belief that “everyone is doing it” was one of the key excuses given for piracy activity. In 2012 66% of Australian adults agreed that “accessing pirated content is something that everybody does nowadays”. In 2018, that agreement has fallen to 32%.

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