While the European box office fights soccer-mania and pre-summer seasonal box office lows, Australia's chart is riding high with help from the southern hemisphere winter and two hits carrying a high level of Australian content.

Mission: Impossible 2 at number one has scooped $7.6m (A$13.3m) after just 12 days, a record score in this time period for distributor UIP. The film is 50% ahead of the gross for the original Mission film after 12 days and may reach the Australian benchmark of A$25m ($15m) by the end of June, despite the release of Disney's big animated summer film Dinosaur on June 16.

At number two in last week's Australian chart, Gladiator, starring antipodean hero Russell Crowe, has now reached a landmark box office tally of $15m. Given that only 10 films in Australia in the last decade have topped this mark (see chart below), it is remarkable to see two hits of this magnitude at the top of the box office. Distributors always say Australian audiences are willing to spend up big if the product is good enough and this bunching of hits proves they are right.

With the school holidays ahead, Columbia TriStar's Stuart Little will gross A$20m ($11.8m) by the end of this month. Some 24 films have taken more than this in the past decade.

Films grossing more than $15m (A$25m)
from 1990 onwards in Australia:

Film (Distributor) Released Total Gross US$m (A$m)

Titanic (20th Century Fox) 1997 $32.5m (A$55.3m)
Phantom Menace (20th Fox) 1999 $22.7m (A$38.6m)
Babe (UIP) 1995 $21.6m (A$36.8m)
Jurassic Park (UIP) 1993 $19.4m (A$33.0m)
Forrest Gump (UIP) 1994 $18.0m (A$30.6m)
Independence Day (20th Fox) 1996 $17.4m (A$29.5m)
The Sixth Sense (Buena Vista Int'l) 1999 $17.2m (A$29.3m)
The Lion King (Roadshow) 1994 $15.9m(A$27.1m)
Mrs Doubtfire (20th Fox) 1993 $15.4m (A$26.2m)
Pretty Woman (Roadshow) 1990 $15.4m (A$26.2m)

Source: Screen International