When it comes to English-language films, audiences in Australia and New Zealand have their preferences: they do not particularly like horror films but are seduced by all things British, particularly sumptuous period dramas, comedies and everything produced by Working Title. From 2008, this translated into big figures for Atonement, The Duchess, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Bank Job.

The core audience demographic for UK films in Australia and New Zealand is aged 40-plus and is conservative in its tastes. This year, Stephan Elliott’s Noel Coward adaptation Easy Virtue has performed well in both territories but the whimsical New Zealand-UK co-production Dean Spanley has not proved a success in either.

UK films comprised 26 of the 301 films released in Australia and New Zealand last year. A further 35 came from elsewhere in Europe, with more than half from France.

Of all non-English language films, French cinema performs best. Pierre Morel’s Taken, distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, has done particularly well in Australia but the English-language action thriller starring Liam Neeson is not a typical French film and has not been marketed to Australian or New Zealand audiences as a French title.

More Asian films than ever are being released - 40 in 2008 with the growth sector being Bollywood - but they do not translate into high box office. Few foreign-language films do: the highest grossing title of 2008 was Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol, distributed by Hopscotch, which took $1.8m (a$2.5m).

With critical support and good word of mouth, Australian audiences in particular will embrace edgy or risky films, especially if they come with a festival pedigree. The high profile of such films is not generally reflected in the box-office results, however: Mongol may have been a festival success but only just squeezed into the top 100.

TOP 100, 2008

2% - Aus - Percentage of local films (including co-prods) in the top 100

6% - Aus - Percentage of foreign films (non-Australian/NZ and non-US films) in the top 100

TOP 100, AUSTRALIA, 2008
 Title (Origin) DistributorGross US$
1The Dark Knight (US) Roadshow$33.2m
2Australia (Aus-US) 20th Fox$26.9m
3Mamma Mia! The Movie (US-UK) UPI$22.8m
4Quantum Of Solace (US-UK) Spri$22m
5Indiana Jones And The Kingdom … (US) PPI$21.1m
6Sex And The City: The Movie (US) Roadshow$19.5m
7Kung Fu Panda (US) PPI$18.6m
8I Am Legend (US) Roadshow$16.7m
9Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (US) PPI$15.9m
10Hancock (US) Spri$14.8m
11Iron Man (US) PPI$14.4m
12Wall-E (US) Walt Disney Smpi$13m
13Alvin And The Chipmunks (US) 20th Fox$12.8m
14Get Smart (US) Roadshow$12.3m
15The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (US) Roadshow$11.9m
16Bedtime Stories (US) Walt Disney Smpi$11.5m
1727 Dresses (US) 20th Fox$11.2m
18Bee Movie (US) PPI$10.9m
19The Golden Compass (US) Roadshow$10.7m
20Twilight (US) Hoyts$10.2m
21The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince … (US) Walt Disney Smpi$9.9m
22National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (US) Walt Disney Smpi$9.4m
23Enchanted (US) Walt Disney Smpi$9.2m
24Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! (US) 20th Fox$8.5m
25American Gangster (US) UPI$8.4m
26Juno (US) 20th Fox$8.4m
27High School Musical 3: Senior Year (US) Walt Disney Smpi$8.3m
28You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (US) Spri$8.1m
29Atonement (UK-US-Fr) UPI$7.7m
30What Happens In Vegas (US) 20th Fox$7.3m
31Tropic Thunder (US) PPI$7.3m
32The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon … (US-Can-Ger) UPI$6.9m
33Burn After Reading (US) UPI$6.9m
34Step Brothers (US) Spri$6.6m
35Step Up 2 The Streets (US) UPI$6.6m
36Jumper (US) 20th Fox$6.5m
37Journey To The Center Of The Earth (US) Roadshow$6m
38Hellboy II: The Golden Army (US) UPI$6m
39The Bucket List (US) Roadshow$5.7m
40The Spiderwick Chronicles (US) PPI$5.7m
41Wanted (US) UPI$5.6m
42Body Of Lies (US) Roadshow$5.3m
43Taken (Fr) 20th Fox$5.2m
44Eagle Eye (US) Paramount$5.2m
45Four Holidays (US) Roadshow$5m
46Forgetting Sarah Marshall (US) UPI$4.9m
47Beverly Hills Chihuahua (US) Walt Disney Smpi$4.9m
4810,000 BC (US) Roadshow$4.9m
49No Country For Old Men (US) PPI$4.5m
50Nim’s Island (US) UPI$4.5m
51PS I Love You (US) Hoyts$4.4m
52Cloverfield (US) PPI$4.3m
53The Water Horse (US) Spri$4.2m
54Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem (US) 20th Fox$4.2m
55Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber … (US) Roadshow$4m
56Made Of Honour (US) Spri$4m
57Fool’s Gold (US) Roadshow$3.9m
58The Duchess (UK) PPI$3.7m
5921 (US) Spri$3.6m
60The Bank Job (UK) PPI$3.5m
61The Incredible Hulk (US) PPI$3.5m
62The Day The Earth Stood Still (US) 20th Fox$3.4m
63Vantage Point (US) Spri$3.3m
64Definitely, Maybe (US-UK-Fr) UPI$3.2m
65Nights In Rodanthe (US) Roadshow$3.2m
66Wild Child (US-UK-Fr) UPI$3m
67The Other Boleyn Girl (US-UK) UPI$3m
68Drillbit Taylor (US) PPI$3m
69Semi-Pro (US) Roadshow$3m
70Street Kings (US) 20th Fox$2.9m
71Pineapple Express (US) Spri$2.9m
72RockNRolla (UK-US) Roadshow$2.7m
73The Painted Veil (Ch-US) PPI/Transmission$2.7m
74Saw V (US) Hoyts$2.6m
75Superhero Movie (US) Roadshow$2.5m
76Run Fatboy Run (US-UK-Fr) Roadshow$2.5m
77Charlie Wilson’s War (US) UPI$2.5m
78Never Back Down (US) Roadshow$2.3m
79Star Wars: The Clone Wars (US) Roadshow$2.3m
80The Happening (US) 20th Fox$2.3m
81The Women (US) Hopscotch$2.2m
82In Bruges (UK-US) Icon$2.2m
83The Kite Runner (US) PPI$2.2m
84Death Race (US) UPI$2.2m
85Meet The Spartans (US) 20th Fox$2.2m
86How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (UK) PPI$2.2m
87Max Payne (US) 20th Fox$2.1m
88Rambo (US-Ger) Spri$2.1m
89Prom Night (US) Spri$2.1m
90St Trinian’s (UK) Spri$2m
91Meet Dave (US) 20th Fox$1.9m
92There Will Be Blood (US) Walt Disney Smpi/Miramax$1.9m
93Baby Mama (US) UPI$1.9m
943:10 To Yuma (US) Hoyts$1.9m
95Forbidden Kingdom (US-Chi) Hoyts$1.8m
96Mongol (Ger-Rus) Hopscotch$1.8m
97The House Bunny (US) Spri$1.7m
98Sex Drive (US) Hoyts$1.7m
99Speed Racer (US) Roadshow$1.7m
100Black Balloon (Aus) Icon$1.7m