Undercover Australian Films Flourish
In 2013, Australian feature films earned only 3.5% of the total Australian Box Office. This is a decreasing rate, with it being 4.3% the previous year. Australian films have a negative stigma attached to them, with most being labelled as ‘depressing dramas’. However, more often than not, Australians are not aware of half of the Australian productions that get released, nor do they realise they are Australian productions. Films such as The Great Gatsby and The Lego Movie fall into this category, each of which found great success in national and international markets. The Great Gatsby earned 26 million in the Australian Box Office, and the Lego Movie has grossed over $464 million worldwide.
It seems that in order for Australian movies to truly succeed on a global scale, they need to be somewhat disguised. Not many people, Australians in particular, want to hear an ocker Aussie accent dressed in a blue singlet and rubber thongs with a can of VB in hand. If the Australian film industry wants to flourish, it needs to challenge itself to compete on a global scale, keeping in mind what the audience want to see, not what they expect to see.
Bearing in mind, Australia only produced 27 feature films last year, in comparison to the 638 that China produced, the 239 that the United Kingdom produced, and the 622 that the United States produced. Of course the US have had more success on the film frontier, given that they’ve made 23 times more than Australia (along with their far more exuberant budgets).
To tackle this problem Australia not only need to create more films, they need to create films specific to the wants of the audience.
The simplest form of qualitative research to shed light on these issues would be conducting a number of surveys and focus groups, that would provide in-depth opinions of audience members about Australian films.
Participating individuals would be shown a list of approximately 30 Australian films with accompanying movie trailers, however they will not be informed that all are in fact Australian productions. The list would include films that have strict Australian connotations, such as Australia and Crocodile Dundee, and those that do not, such as the mentioned Lego Movie and The Great Gatsby. Keeping in mind that Australian films typically have a bad reputation, Participants would be asked to write down what movies they think are Australian and why, and write down why they think the remaining are not. Secondly, they would be asked to identify what films they watched at the Cinema upon release and why, what films they watched in a different context and why, and what films they have not watched, and why. They would then be asked to discuss the inherent characteristics that they associate with Australian films. It would be expected that these characteristics would be either negative, or neutral, with anticipated answers of ‘dramatic’, ‘tacky’ and ‘over-Australian’.
This kind of qualitative study, although quite simple in nature, would offer valuable insight into why people view the films they do, and would help equate whether the knowledge of it being an Australian film would affect their consumer behaviour.
- Australian Content Releases 2014, Screen Australia, viewed 25 September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/releasesintro.aspx>
- Box Office Mojo 2013, Australian Yearly Box Office, Box Office Mojo, viewed 25 September 2014, <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/intl/australia/yearly/?yr=2013&p=.htm>
- FilmL.A Research 2013, Feature Film Production Report, Hollywood Reporter, viewed 25 September 2014, <http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/>
- Low, C 2012, Delving into Decline of Australian Films, Canberra Times, 24 January, viewed 25 September 2014, <http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/delving-into-decline-of-australian-films-20120124-1t6jf.html>
- Pro Box Office 2014, The Lego Movie, Pro Box Office, viewed 25 September 2014, <http://pro.boxoffice.com/statistics/movies/lego-2014>