Hit films led by The Dish, The Wog Boy and Looking For Alibrandi drove Australian films' share of last year's local box-office to more than double 1999's overall cash take, according to research released by the Australian Film Commission (AFC).

Local films released theatrically in 2000 took $29.9m, the most local titles have ever earnt. Roadshow's The Dish has taken $9.2m so far, while 20th Century Fox's The Wog Boy and Roadshow's Looking For Alibrandi grossed $6.2m and $4.5m respectively. Palace's Chopper raked in $3.1m, with BVI's Me Myself I recording $1.5m.

But the record tally belied the fact that local titles made relatively little in-roads into US fare in terms of overall market share. Australian films' 8% share of the total box office gross of $380.7m was equalled in 1996 and has been exceeded ten times in the last 25 years.

"The box office share of Australian films has more than doubled, despite the continued domination of our cinema by Hollywood and our comparatively limited film budgets," said AFC chief executive Kim Dalton. "There is no doubt that Australians want to see Australian films."

The research noted that the 22 Australian films took an average of $1.3m each. The 168 US films released took an average of $1.7m, while the 28 UK films took an average $700,000. The 32 remaining overseas films averaged at $294,000.

Of the 22 local titles, eight earned over $500,000, compared to nine in 1998 and five or six titles every other year since 1991. Four of the titles were documentaries.