Box office revenues in Australia rose 4% in 2002 to hit US$495.4m (A$844.8 million) and achieve another record-breaking year.

Given that annual falls have only been registered once in the past 15 years, the positive result was not a surprise.

While the country's nearly 19m people are visiting cinemas more than ever, there is nothing particularly Australian about what films they most want to see. In fact, it was a poor year for Australian films with not one exceeding US$5.9m.

High profile, high cost and heavily promoted blockbusters - Star Wars: Episode 2 Attack Of The Clones, Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Spider-Man, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets - were the hits of the year while the fifth most popular, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, broke out across the world.

"In a trend that was first apparent last year, the increase in the country's box office was again the highest of any of the regions," said newly appointed Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) chair Sunder Kimatrai when releasing the figures today.

The 20th Century Fox chief described 20002 as "another outstanding year" despite the growing number of entertainment choices, but warned that piracy was a threat to future growth.

"In 2003 we expect to work closely with our industry partners and various government agencies to improve the legal, regulatory and enforcement environment to achieve our objective of the enhancement of penalties and ultimate eradication of piracy," he said.

One of the industry's achievements was the completion of a review of the film exhibition and distribution code of conduct, which has made the resolution of disputes and disagreements a much smoother process, Kimatrai said. To ensure the industry continues to operate smoothly, the MPDAA will continue to help fund the code secretariat.


1. Star Wars: Ep II Attack Of The Clones (20th Century Fox) US$19.8m
2. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (Roadshow) US$18.7m
3. Spider-Man (Columbia Tristar) US$18.1
4. Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets (Roadshow) US$17.8m
5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Roadshow) US$14.1m
6. Ocean's Eleven (Roadshow) US$13m
7. Ice Age (20th Century Fox) US$12m
8. A Beautiful Mind (UIP) US$11.6m
9. Austin Powers In Goldmember (Roadshow) US$11.4m
10. Scooby-Doo (Roadshow) US$10.8m