Australia Box Office 2021: Recovering local hits

Australia’s cinema box office rebounded 50% in 2021, compared to 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. But theater activity was still less than half the 2019 level.

The boss’ office gross was A$605 million ($432 million) according to data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia and tracking service Numero. This compares to A$401 million ($286 million) in 2020 and A$1.23 billion ($878 million) in 2019.

Despite the country’s slow and uneven reopening – Melbourne suffered one of the longest lockdowns in the world – Australian films had a stronger year than in many pre-pandemic periods. Their combined gross was A$71.5 million ($51.0 million), or 12% of the national total, compared to A$22.7 million, a 6% market share in 2020, and 40 million Australian dollars, or 3.5% in 2019.

The local charge was led by “Peter Rabbit 2” with A$22.0 million ($15.7 million) and “The Dry” with A$20.1 million ($14.3 million). Rounding out the top five Australian tracks were: ‘Mortal Kombat’, ‘Penguin Bloom’ and ‘High Ground’.

The overall ranking was led by “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with AU$55.3 million ($39.5 million), “No Time to Die” with AU$33.4 million and “Godzilla vs. Kong” with $27.9 million.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (which grossed A$17.2 million) were filmed largely in Australia, but are not considered Australian domestic productions.

The MPDAA/Number data indicates the number of versions performing a recovery. Some 1,874 films were released on Australian screens, of which 513 were new releases. In 2020, 1,503 films were released, including 401 new titles. New Australian national films amounted to 52 in 2021.

The data shows some 443 theaters in operation at the end of 2021, with a total of 2,232 screens. The average ticket price has increased from AU$14.23 in 2020 to AU$15.24 ($10.88) in 2021.

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