2013 was a great year for film. As expected, massive box office revenue was made from the huge number of sequels and prequels (such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Iron Man 3) populating the marketplace. In fact, of the top 10 highest grossing films of the year at the Australian box office only one, Dreamworks’ The Croods, is an original creation. The rest of the list is populated by comic book and novel adaptations, and live action and animated sequels.
This does not mean, however, that other original works were unable to find an audience. Alfonso Curaron’s Gravity, for example, was incredibly successful all around the world and is poised to take home a bunch of Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards. It’s great to see Aussie production The Great Gatsby on this list, as the film was shot in Australia and employed a large amount of local talent. The film gathered an incredibly impressive worldwide total of over $350 million.
On the other hand, on the list of the most successful home-grown films in Australian cinemas, only Gatsby managed to make much of a mark. Particularly of interest is the #3 placing of Time Winton’s The Turning; an anthology of short films based on Winton’s collection of short stories. The project was a risky one, but relatively strong box office takings and reviews suggest that the risk has paid off, at least in a creative sense.
Current hits such as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug do not appear due to their late 2013 release date. Needless to saySmaug will end up quite high on this list when all is said and done.
Highest grossing films of 2013 at the Australian box office
1. Iron Man 3 $39.21 million
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $36.00 million
3. Despicable Me 2 $35.57 million
4. Life of Pi $27.76 million
5. The Great Gatsby $27.44 million
6. Fast & Furious 6 $26.91 million
7. The Croods $25.00 million
8. Man of Steel $24.25 million
9. Monsters University $24.10 million
10. Thor: The Dark World $22.83 million
Highest grossing Australian films of 2013 at the Australian box office
1. The Great Gatsby $27.44 million
2. Goddess $1.64 million
3. Tim Winton’s The Turning $1.21 million
4. Return to Nim’s Island $1.21 million
5. Drift $819,321
The worldwide picture is much the same as in Australia. Marvel’s Iron Man 3 took the number one spot for the year, making a huge improvement over the second film, likely boosted by remaining goodwill from 2012’s The Avengers. Somehow the Despicable Me films continue to find audiences, despite their sub-par quality compared to the other animated films on offer.The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire made a decent improvement critically and financially over the first film, and the series has cemented Jennifer Lawrence as a bona fide movie star.
With the final novel, Mockingjay, split into two parts (to be released this year and in 2015), it is possible that one or both will reach the $1 billion mark worldwide. At this stage, The Desolation of Smaug may struggle to match the worldwide gross of its predecessor, although $1 billion isn’t out of the question yet. Superman reboot Man of Steel made an impressive dent in the worldwide box office and, while not a flop in any sense, it could be considered a bit of a disappointment in comparison to the success of The Dark Knight trilogy. It has been suggested that the decision to include Batman in the film’s sequel (set for a 2015 release) was due to the first film’s disappointing returns.
Highest grossing films of 2013 at the worldwide box office
1. Iron Man 3 $1.21 billion
2. Despicable Me 2 $921.2 million
3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire $831.8 million
4. Fast & Furious 6 $788.7 million
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug $758.9 million
6. Monsters University $743.6 million
7. Gravity $670.2 million
8. Man of Steel $668.0 million
9. Frozen $642.4 million
10. Thor: The Dark World $630.5 million
2014 looks to be another huge year at the cinema, with expected hits X-Men: Days of Future Past, How to Train Your Dragon 2and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 likely to find huge success. Christopher Nolan also has the potential to match the incredible gross of 2010’s Inception with his latest original film, the science-fiction epic Interstellar. Good times ahead!
All figures from Box Office Mojo and news.com.au