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Australian feature film production activity

Number produced, total production budgets and average budget per film (current* and 2016 dollars), 1970/71–2015/16

Next update March 2018

* Dollar value as per each year specified (ie not adjusted for inflation)

Over the past four decades Australia has built a solid feature production industry. The average number of Australian features produced annually has grown from 14 films per year in the 1970s to 30 films in the 1980s, 27 films in the 1990s and 31 films in the first decade of the 2000s.

Converted to 2016 dollars, total production budgets for Australian feature films averaged around $25 million annually in the 1970s, increasing to over $170 million during the 1980s and 1990s, and increasing further to $259 million in the 10 years to 2009/10.

The total budgets for Australian features can fluctuate annually, due largely to the impact of a small number of foreign-financed, usually high-budget, features. In 2008/09, the total production budgets figure was the highest on record ($445 million in 2016 dollars), principally because of the high-budget titles Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole and Happy Feet Two. More recently, results were boosted by films such as The Great Gatsby (2011/12), Mad Max: Fury Road (2012/13) and Gods of Egypt (2013/14).

In 2015/16, total production budgets increased by 60 per cent over the previous year, despite a 22 per cent drop in the number of titles made, due largely to the high-budget films Hacksaw Ridge and Nest.

The average budget for Australian features has risen in each decade since the 1970s. In the 1970s it was $1.62 million (in 2016 dollars), which more than tripled to $5.68 million during the 1980s, and grew to $6.61 million in the 1990s and $8.55 million in the first decade of the 2000s.

No. productions and total budgets, 1970/71–2015/16
Graph: Number of Australian features produced and total budgets, 1970/71-2015/16. The table following provides the data.

 

  No. per year Total budgets per year Average budget per film
Current ($m)* 2016 ($m)1 Current ($m)* 2016 ($m)1
1970/71 10 2 18 0.17 1.79
1971/72 9 1 9 0.10 0.97
1972/73 6 <1 4 0.07 0.71
1973/74 14 3 27 0.23 1.91
1974/75 14 3 17 0.18 1.24
1975/76 19 6 34 0.30 1.79
1976/77 19 7 34 0.34 1.80
1977/78 17 8 36 0.44 2.12
1978/79 18 7 32 0.39 1.75
1979/80 17 9 36 0.51 2.13
Total 70/71–79/80 143 44 247
Annual av. 70/71–79/80 14 4 25 0.27 1.62
1980/81 30 37 138 1.23 4.61
1981/82 28 47 156 1.68 5.57
1982/83 21 43 128 2.05 6.10
1983/84 21 34 96 1.64 4.57
1984/85 34 78 208 2.30 6.13
1985/86 42 91 229 2.16 5.44
1986/87 30 83 195 2.78 6.51
1987/88 40 101 222 2.53 5.56
1988/89 21 47 95 2.23 4.51
1989/90 34 141 266 4.14 7.84
Total 80/81–89/90 301 702 1,734
Annual av.80/81–89/90 30 70 173 2.33 5.68
1990/91 27 113 206 4.19 7.61
1991/92 29 79 142 2.74 4.88
1992/93 22 58 102 2.63 4.64
1993/94 28 141 247 5.05 8.83
1994/95 15 43 73 2.85 4.90
1995/96 23 89 148 3.86 6.43
1996/97 33 131 215 3.97 6.52
1997/98 35 165 267 4.71 7.63
1998/99 29 117 189 4.05 6.52
1999/00 27 141 220 5.21 8.16
Total 90/91–99/00 268 1,078 1,810
Annual av. 90/91–99/00 27 108 181 4.02 6.61
2000/01 25 163 245 6.51 9.81
2001/02 27 170 250 6.31 9.28
2002/03 19 71 101 3.72 5.30
2003/04 22 225 309 10.21 14.04
2004/05 29 112 148 3.86 5.11
2005/06 34 124 156 3.64 4.58
2006/07 30 273 327 9.09 10.90
2007/08 39 252 288 6.46 7.39
2008/09 39 408 445 10.46 11.40
2009/10 42 301 325 7.16 7.73
Total 00/01–09/10 306 2,098 2,594
Annual av. 00/01–09/10 31 210 259 6.74 8.55
2010/11 22 125 127 5.69 5.78
2011/12 34 372 371 10.93 10.91
2012/13 37 305 305 8.25 8.24
2013/14 39 360 354 9.23 9.09
2014/15 37 131 130 3.53 3.51
2015/16 29 207 207 7.15 7.15

Source: Screen Australia.

Notes: Productions under Australian creative control, including domestic productions, official co-productions and other productions involving shared creative control, i.e. with a mix of Australians in key creative positions.
Figures are updated on an ongoing basis therefore there may be some discrepancies with previously published data.
* Dollar value as per each year specified (ie not adjusted for inflation).
1. Adjusted using the non-farm GDP deflator; base year 2015/16.

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