/News 25.10.17


Do you know what the top 8 grossing Aussie films of all time are? No? Have a guess.  Ausfilm member Stage and Screen counts them up.

Glancing through the list of successful Australian movies reveals more than just the fact that Aussie filmmaking maestros George Miller and Baz Luhrmann are over-represented.

Even though movies about a penguin, a dog, a post-apocalyptic hero and the third adaptation of one of the most famous works of American literature couldn’t be more different from each other, they each reveal a slice of life that’s unique to Australia.

Whether it’s the self-effacing humour foreigners love about us, or landscapes not found anywhere else in the world, the most successful Australian films say something about our national character and can-do spirit. And when it comes to the below list, the rest of the world agreed.

1. Happy Feet, 2006

Director: George Miller
Global box office: USD$ 384m
With Hollywood cementing a new art form – the computer-animated family film – veteran director Dr George Miller stepped into the breach, finding his inner child and taking cues from real-world biology to make the story of a young penguin who loves dancing – universal.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015

Director: George Miller
Global box office: USD$ 378m
Thirty years after the last instalment of Max’s trilogy, Dr George Miller showed Hollywood how action movies were really done with a stripped back, visually eye-popping movie that combined raw, armrest-shredding, driving sequences with the best female heroine of recent times.

3. The Great Gatsby, 2013

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Global box office: USD$ 351m
The nouveau riche of depression-era America also seems like it couldn’t be further from home, but Luhrmann took F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel and turned it into a spiritual sequel to Moulin Rouge!, a glitzy world of finery and gilded debauchery where the music, the movement and the party never stop.

4. Crocodile Dundee, 1986

Director: Peter Faiman
Global box office: USD$ 328m
Along with Hoges’ infamous ‘shrimp on the barbie’ tourism ads, this was Australia’s first big film into the US, a fish out of water comedy that put the iconic larrikin in the midst of the urban American human condition.

5. Babe, 1995

Director: Chris Noonan
Global box office: USD$ 254m
Taking the talking animals with human problems playbook that had worked for Disney for generations and applying cutting-edge film technology to it seemed like a no-brainer, and the charm of the triumphant pig and his soft-spoken master (James Cromwell) did the rest of the work to win the world over.

6. Crocodile Dundee II, 1988

Director: John Cornell
Global box office: USD$ 239m
Who can forget when Mick Dundee (Hoges) took a walk on the wild side in the streets of New York.

7. Australia, 2008

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Global box office: USD$ 211m
The stockman, Indigenous culture and the beautiful but unforgiving wide brown land down under. Need we say more.

8. Knowing, 2009

Director: Alex Proyas
Global Box office: USD$ 183m
This epic science-fiction story posed the age-old question, is everything in some way preordained or does it happen by chance?


Story supplied by Stage and Screen Travel, written by Drew Turney.

Image: Mad Max: Fury Road © Warner Bros Ent. / Village Roadshow