The Boom at the Box Office

For the Australian Film Industry, 2021 has started off with a bang!

Sitting in the Cinema, what are Aussies watching today?


There’s no better time to be in the Australian film and TV business, now that Hollywood is switching hemispheres!

The onset of the COVID in March 2020 saw the film industry screech to a halt and shrink to virtually nothing. A year in and the Australian film and production sectors have bounced back to levels industry experts are calling “unprecedented”. The prediction is that over the next few years, Australian films, and films shot in Australia, will dominate our screens.

In celebrating the success of 4 Aussie Box Office Hits gracing the Top 10's, we're taking a look at the films that are making Aussie history, and the filming locations you might recognise.

The Numbers

The Breakdown

#1 The Dry

Opening Weekend: $2,008,565

After an absence of twenty years, Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to investigate an apparent murder-suicide committed by his childhood friend, Luke Hadler. But when Aaron's investigation opens a decades old wound - the unsolved death of 16-year-old Ellie Deacon – Aaron must struggle to prove not only Luke's innocence but his own. 

The Dry brings new life to Victorian town Beulah after drought, fire and a difficult two years, with the project employing 90 regional workers engaging with 120 local businesses and injected $1 million into the regional economy during its production phase.

#2 Penguin Bloom

Opening Weekend: $1,166,586

Naomi Watts stars in the true story of Sam Bloom, whose recovery from a tragic accident is helped when she and her family discover an unlikely ally.

The movie was prominently shot in the Sydney suburb of Newport, at the actual location of Sam Bloom's residence where she continues to reside with her family. Showing off some of the iconic locations the suburb has to offer, viewers will get a glimpse of Palm Beach and Avalon Beach throughout the film.

#5 High Ground

Opening Weekend: $471,184

1930s, North Australia, a remote corner of a wild country, two men are on a mission to prevent a bloody war.

In a bid to save the last of his family, Gutjuk, a young Aboriginal man, teams up with ex-soldier Travis to track down Baywara, the most dangerous warrior in the Territory, his uncle.

Shot across stone and floodplain country around the Northern Territory, the film makes stars of natural landscapes such as East Alligator River, Cannon Hill, Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park, recognized as a step towards reconciliation by prominent Indigenous Leaders.

#8 Occupation: Rainfall

Opening Weekend: $155,416

Two years into an intergalactic invasion of earth, survivors in Sydney, Australia, fight back in a desperate ground war. As causalities mount by the day, the resistance and their unexpected allies, uncover a plot that could see the war come to a decisive end. With the Alien invaders hell-bent on making earth their new home, the race is on to save mankind.

The entire film was shot on the Gold Coast with extensive work in three warehouses that were converted into studios depicting the backdrop of Sydney. 

Screen International Journalist Sandy George sums up the boom perfectly, "While external circumstances have provided the space for these films to grow in cinemas, they could not do the business they are doing without being terrific films, have great audience appeal, excellent marketing campaigns and strong and persistent creative Australians making this all happen". Brisbane's Head of Film + Television at JMC, Mark Overett, joins the celebration and quotes how ecstatic it is that the industry is succeeding in 2021, "In my 30 years experience, I have never seen four Australian Films in the top 10 before!"

We can't wait to see what else the Australian Film industry has up their sleeves in the coming year!

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