Australia’s box office gross tumbled 2.3% on the previous year.

Scroll down for the top 10 of 2013

Australia’s box office gross for 2013 was $965,254,265 (A$1,099,615,801), 2.3% less than 2012.

The top 10 films of the year contributed 27% of this figure, which was unveiled by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA).

Three of those heavy hitters grossed more than $30m. They included Walt Disney’s Iron Man 3, the biggest success of 2013; Roadshow’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; and Universal’s Despicable Me 2.

Fox and Warner Bros also had films in the top 10 but the MPDAA’s remaining two members, Paramount and Sony, missed out. (Roadshow is not a member of the MPDAA but handles Warner releases via a sub distribution arrangement.)

The Great Gatsby, which was financed out of the US, was the only Australian film in the top 10.

More than 400 films were released in the country during the year.

The annual box office gross represents only the fourth year-on-year fall in 20 years in Australia. The others were in 2000, 2005 and 2011, although the industry has taken only one year to recover its health only once. For example, 2010 remains the highest grossing year on record because 2012 did not fully recover from the fall in 2011.

The MPDAA delivered a positive spin in its media statement about the 2013 result by noting that the week beginning on Boxing Day (Thursday, Dec 26), traditionally one of the most lucrative of the year for the cinema industry, was the highest grossing week of all time.

A total of $43.8m (A$49.9m) was spent on tickets over the seven days and the biggest contributors of the new releases were The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is about to reach $30m, Frozen, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Philomena and Transmission’s UK/Australian co-production The Railway Man, which will be on 65 additional screens from Thursday (Jan 23).

The previous record-breaking week was in July 2010 when The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Toy Story 3 were both playing.

Speaking as MPDAA chair, 20th Century Fox Australia managing director Marc Wooldridge said that 32 films grossed more than $8.8m (A$10m), the traditional benchmark for measuring success in Australia, which has a population of less than 23 million.

“Australia continues to be among the most frequent cinema goers in the world and is acknowledged as an important and relevant contributor to the global box office,” he said.

The cinema going-experience in Australia was “among the best in the world thanks to the enormous investment in cinemas by local exhibitors and the incredible content created by the global filmmaking community,” he added. As usual a warning about the damage caused by piracy was included.

Last year admissions totalled an estimated 85.9 million but the MPDAA never provide that number this early in the year.

Goddess, The Turning and Return to Nim’s Island were the three most popular home-grown films after The Great Gatsby and The Railway Man.

Australia: Top 10 films (2013)

(As at Dec 31, 2013)

Title / Distributor / Box office $US (A$)

  1. Iron Man 3 (Walt Disney) 34,501,196 (39,230,000)
  2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Roadshow) 31,982,413 (36,365,987)
  3. Despicable Me 2 (Universal) 31,446,928 (35,754,861)
  4. Life Of Pi (Fox) 24,881,965 (28,290,560)
  5. The Great Gatsby (Roadshow) 24,085,332 (27,383,762)
  6. Fast And Furious 6 (Universal) 23,743,926 (26,995,183)
  7. The Croods (Fox) 22,238,346 (25,283,444)
  8. Man Of Steel (Warner Bros) 21,406,564 (24,338,130)
  9. Monsters University (Walt Disney) 21,339,604 (24,262,000)
  10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros) 20,952,042 (23,822,667)