The Australian film industry should prepare to go into mourning within the next week when The Return Of The King displaces Crocodile Dundee to become the second biggest box office hit of all time in the territory.
Crocodile Dundee was top of the hit list from 1986 to 1998, when it was replaced by 20th Century Fox's Titanic.
Titanic sold $43.6m (A$57.6m) worth of tickets and Crocodile Dundee grossed $36.1m for Hoyts, according to statistics provided by the Australian Film Commission and the Motion Picture Distributors Association.
The latest figures from Nielsen EDI show that The Return Of The King had taken $35.9m as of Sunday March 7 and was still bringing in $530,000 per week in its eleventh week in release. It has clambered over two older siblings - The Fellowship Of The Ring took $35.5m and The Two Towers took A$34.6m - to win the right to successfully challenge Australia's homegrown pride and joy.
There is only one other Australian film in the country's top ten of all time chart and that film is UIP's Babe, which was released in late 1995 and grossed $27.8m. It holds the tenth position, but is highly unlikely to remain there when the next Harry Potter comes along. None of the figures are adjusted for inflation.
Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan is a key lead in the new Australian film Strange Bedfellows, which is being released by Becker Entertainment on April 22.
TOP TEN EVER IN AUSTRALIA (as of March 7):
Film Distributor Released Gross (A$m)
Titanic Fox 1997 57.6
Crocodile Dundee Hoyts 1986 47.7
The Return Of The King * Roadshow 2003 47.4
The Fellowship Of The Ring Roadshow 2001 46.9
The Two Towers Roadshow 2002 45.7
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone Roadshow 2001 42.3
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 20th Century Fox 1999 38.8
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets Roadshow 2002 37.4
Finding Nemo BVI 2003 37.1
Babe UIP 1995 36.8
* still on release