A gross box office of $1.126bn (A$1.13bn) in 2010 has delivered Australian exhibitors and distributors their third consecutive record year.
The final figure was up four percent on 2009, which was up 15 percent on 2008, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA).
The average ticket price went from $11.95 (A$11.99) to $12.22 (A$12.26) but whether the modest growth of the last 12 months is due to this or more bums on seats is unknown as admission numbers are unavailable.
The number of commercial screens in Australia only rose by 10 to 1,994 in the 12 months up to the end of 2010, but there are now 452 digital screens (rather than 184) and it is understood that 376 of these are able to show and charge more for 3D movies.
In all, 325 films were launched in 2010, compared to 346 in 2009, and 301 in 2008.
The performance of megahit Avatar helped the top 10 films of 2010 gross significantly more than those in 2009: $362.16m (A$363.34m) compared to $294.48m (A$295.44m).
According to figures released simultaneously by Screen Australia, the 41 Australian films in cinemas during 2010 grossed $50.35m (A$50.6m), or 4.5 percent of the total. This was a slight fall on last year but was the second highest local share for eight years. Only 10 of the films were released on more than 100 prints.
Lori Flekser, formerly of Screen Australia, has taken over from Rob Mages as general manager of the MPDAA.
In nearby New Zealand it was also a record year with the Motion Picture Distributors Association (MPDA) stating that 17.5 percent of the $133.4m (NZ$176.5m) gross came from 3D screenings.
The number of digital screens grew from 20 to 86 during the 12-month period; New Zealand had 400 screens in all at the beginning of 2010 and 411 at the end. The average ticket price rose by only a few cents to $11.05 (NZ$8.35) compared to2009 but the average top price rose by 76 cents (NZ$1) to $19.66 (NZ$26). There were 299 films (273 in 2009) released.
The top 10 earners were more or less the same group of films that were most popular in Australia although local film Boy lead the pack with $7m (NZ$9.3) — the MPDA did not include Avatar because it was released at the end of 2009.
Tony Eaton, executive director of the NZ Federation Against Copyright Theft, is now holding the role of MPDA executive director following Bill Hood’s retirement this month.
TOP 10 FILMS IN 2010 IN AUSTRALIA
Film, Distributor, Gross $m (A$m)
Avatar, 20th Century Fox $74.9 (75.29) *
Toy Story 3, Walt Disney $42.2 (42.42)
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Warner Bros $36.8 (36.99)
Alice In Wonderland, Walt Disney $37.4 (37.56)
Inception, Warner Bros $35.5 (35.62)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Hoyts $34.1 (34.21)
Shrek Forever After, Paramount $27.4 (27.49)
Iron Man 2, Paramount $25.9 (25.99)
Sex And The City 2, Roadshow $23.4 (23.53)
Despicable Me, Universal $22.1 (22.23)
* Avatar was released in 2009 and the total box office was $114.97m (A$115.57)
TOP AUSTRALIAN FILMS IN 2010 IN AUSTRALIA
Tomorrow When The War Began, Paramount $13.4 (13.48)
Bran Nue Dae, Paramount $7.4 (7.68)
Animal Kingdom, Madman $4.9 (4.94)
The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2, Paramount/Transmission $4.8 (4.90)
Legends Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, Roadshow $4.7 (4.73)