Preliminary figures indicate that Australia'sgross box office for 2005 was 10% less than the previous year.

A spokesperson for the Motion Picture DistributorsAssociation of Australia (MPDAA) says official results will not be announceduntil mid to late January but a source told Screendaily.comthat the 2005 result will be around $610.6m (A$815m). This is $68.9m (A$92m)less than the record $679.5m (A$907m) spent on movie tickets in 2004.

The top earner of the year was Star Wars Episode III -Revenge Of The Sith,which took $26.6m (A$35.45.m) for 20th Century Fox. The next mostpopular film was Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, which grossed $23.1m (A$30.8.m)between its December 1 release date and the end of the year and is stillearning for Roadshow. In third place was, Madagascar, earning $19.1m (A$25.43.m) worth oftickets for UIP.

The $610.6m (A$815m) box office takings for 2005 means that thiswill be only the third fall in annual box office revenue in the last 20 years,according to Australian Film Commission (AFC)statistics. The dips were between 1986 and 1987 and between 1999 and 2000, theyear the Olympic Games were staged in Sydney.The increase between 2002 and 2003 was due to ticket prices rising rather thanadmissions growth, however.

According to calculations by based on MPDAA figures, the gross revenue earned byAustralian films was about $17.2m (A$23.m) or 2.8% of the total. While this istwice as much as the previous year in both dollarvalue and percentage share, 2004's 1.3% was the lowest result since recordsbegan 27 years earlier. Less than 20 Australiafeatures were released in each of these two years, providing limitedopportunities for hits in a market where over 300 films are now releasedannually.

Horror film Wolf Creekperformed best in 2005, earning $4.3m (A$5.8m) for Roadshow,followed by two dramas. Little Fishtook $2.7m (A$3.7m) for Icon and LookBoth Ways took $2.05m (A$2.73m) for co-distributors Dendyand Footprint. Wolf Creek and Look Both Ways are still on some screens.

The record local share was 24% in 1986, the year Crocodile Dundee was released, accordingto the AFC. In 1988 Australian films took18% of the total gross, helped by CrocodileDundee II and The Man From Snowy River II, but they have not reached doublefigures since. 2001 was a record year in terms of dollars $47.7m (A$63.5m) butthis represented only eight % of the total gross for the year.

The AFC will release theofficial figures on how Australian films fared when the MPDAA publishes itsresults.

Top 20 Films Australia 2005

Title (Distributor) Releasedate Total gross

1 Star Wars: Episode III - RevengeOf The Sith (20th Fox) May 19 $26m

2 Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire(Warner Bros) Dec 1 $21.7m*

3 Madagascar (UIP) June 16 $18.65m

4 Charlie And The ChoclateFactory (Roadshow) Sep 1 $17.97m

5 Meet The Fockers(UIP) Dec 26, 2004 $17.7m'

6 War Of The Worlds (UIP) June 29 $15.8m

7 Mr And Mrs Smith (20th Fox) June 9 $14.97m

8 The Incredibles (BVI) Dec 26, 2004 $12.4m'

9 Wedding Crashers (Roadshow) Aug 11 $12.3m

10 Batman Begins (Warner Bros) June 16 $11.6m

11 Hitch (SPRI) March 3 $10.4m

12 Robots (20th Fox) March 24 $10.2m

13 King Kong (UIP) Dec 14 $9.35m*

14 Fantastic Four (20th Fox) July 7 $8.9m

15 The Pacifier (BVI) March 24 $8.2m

16 The Longest Yard (SPRI) June 2 $8.04m

17 Wallace & Gromit (UIP) Sep 15 $7.85m

18 The Dukes Of Hazzard(Roadshow) Sep 15 $7.5m

19 Bewitched (SPRI) July 7 $7.2m

20 Herbie: Fully Loaded (BVI) June 23 $6.9m

* Still on release atyear-end

' Released in 2004, grossfor 2005 only.

Source: MPDAA