The Australian film industry has the potential to be a major competitor on the world stage but needs the support of Australian audiences. The industry is exploding with new ideas, however Australian audiences are not embracing Australian produced films. To understand why Australian audiences are not interested we must understand how and why location, travel and movie theatres influence the individual to not watch an Australian film. According the Screen Australia research undertaken in 2013, television and DVD are the dominant platforms for watching local screen stories. The low cost platforms win audiences over, compared to the expensive cinema experience of the candy bar and transport fees. Spatial dimensions are an issue for Australians living in rural areas. Individuals who travel hours to get to a movie theatre would rather watch a Hollywood blockbuster than an Australian movie which may not reach their high expectations. What are we doing wrong and why can’t we attract the target audience?
Due to the lack of support for the Australian Film industry by independent bodies there are many challenges and uncertainty’s facing the future of the Australian cinema.
Australian films are advertised more heavily and released on more screens relative to (similar) competing films, yet they under-perform in terms of opening week and cumulative box-office revenues… However, it is striking that the relatively high levels of advertising support and opening screens do not help the financial outcome of at the Australian box office (McKenzie & Walls 2012, p. 267).
We can’t afford to lose the rich culture and diverse talent which the Australian film industry provides. As Aussies we need to support Australian stories portrayed in Australian films. If we don’t, who are we to the world? Due to the domination of American films, globalizing and de-nationalising processes are radically reshaping contemporary Australian film and TV production (O’Regan & Potter, 2013, p.5). As a result, national diversity is diminishing.
We can’t accept Hollywood films as our own because our culture is totally different to theirs. Nevertheless, caution needs to be taken when we support Hollywood blockbusters because we are choosing to reject our own culture. Ok! not every genre may not be your cup of tea but we need take on an optimistic view that the Australian film industry has potential. We may not have the multimillion dollar budget or the most popular actors starring in the films but we can’t turn our backs on our own film industry. Have a little faith in the industry because we all have to start somewhere.
The Australian film industry is experiencing a popularity draught but it’s only a matter of time before we get another box office winner. In 2012, The Sapphires distributed by Hopscotch Film and Entertainment One captured the hearts of many Australian audiences. According to Screen Australia, The Sapphires was the top grossing Australian feature film at the local box office in 2012, taking $14.5 million. The Australian born film got international acclaim, receiving a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival (Cameron 2012). The outstanding Australian film can be seem in the below trailer.
We have to stay true to who we are and need to stop chasing Hollywood storylines. The best stories are here in Australia, success is found among our rich cultural indigenous history and funny sense of humor. This can be seen in classic Australian movies such as Crocodile Dundee, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding, Strictly Ballroom and Babe.
In order to understand how the Australian film industry can improve and capture the attention of audiences, extensive qualitative research will need to be conducted. It is vital to take on board a PESTLE analysis (Political, economic, social, technological, legal, environment factors) and SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of the Australian film industry. In relation on how the Australian film industry will:
1) Strengthen Australia’s cultural identity;
2) Entertain Australian audiences with diverse storylines; and
3) Showcase Australian films to the world.
Cameron, A 2012, ‘Movie of the Month: The Sapphires’, The Lamp, 1 August, p. 47.
Mckenzie, J & Walls, D 2012, ‘Australian films at the Australian box office: performance, distribution, and subsidies’, Journal of Cultural Economics, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 247-269.
O’Regan, T & Potter, A 2013, ‘Globalisation from within?: The de-nationalising of Australia film and television production’, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, no. 149, pp. 5-14.
Quinn, K 2011, High drama as Australian films hit hard times, image, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 25 September 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/high-drama-as-australian-films-hit-hard-times-20111031-1ms0t.html