The people of Australia spent $1,173.2m (A$1,125.5m) on cinema tickets in 2012, a 2.8% increase on the previous year but about $7.6m (A$7.3m) less than they spent in a record-breaking 2010.

 It is the third consecutive year that annual revenues have exceeded $1bn.

The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) released the figures but, as usual, chose not to estimate admission numbers so early in the year.

It is likely that 85 to 90 million tickets were sold – the population is 22.9 million.

The five films that lead the pack in 2012 all grossed more than $30m:

  • The Avengers (Walt Disney);
  • Skyfall (Sony Pictures);
  • The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros);
  • Ted (Universal);
  • The Hunger Games (Roadshow).

The next five all exceeded $20m: 

  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (Hoyts/StudioCanal);
  • Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (Fox);
  • Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (Paramount);
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox);
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (Roadshow).

“Clearly 2012 benefitted from a tremendous mix of commercial and highly entertaining movies and consumers continue to demonstrate strong support for the timeless and unique appeal of going to the cinema,” said Marc Wooldridge, chair of the MPDAA, in a statement.

The managing director at Twentieth Century Fox Australia also said that Australia boasts some of the best cinemas in the world and a night at the movies continues to provide “a tremendous, good value, out-of-home experience”.

Of the 548 films (421 were new releases) that earned some money in 2012:

  • 231 (42.2%) were from the US
  • 63 (11.5%) from the UK
  • 43 (7.8%) from Australia
  • 211 from other countries.

According to government agency Screen Australia, the amount spent on tickets to the 43 Australian films was $49.8m (A$47.9m), which represented 4.3% of the total gross, and a few million dollars more than the five-year average.

The annual domestic share has not been higher than 5% for the past 10 years and no higher than 10% for the past 25 years.

The top grossing Australian film, The Sapphires, grossed $15.1m (A$14.5m). The others in the top five were Happy Feet Two, Kimderella, A Few Best Men and Mental.

Australia has 1,995 cinema screens and the MPDAA estimates that 72% of them are now converted to digital. Of these, 57% are 3D capable.

Wooldridge also noted that Australian exhibitors lead the world, on a per capita basis, on the number of screens accessible to disabled audiences.