Movie Convention Gold Coast Day 1 got off to a good start, with sneak peeks at The Amazing Spider-Man, The Armstrong Lie and Robocop.
I’ve been struggling to write my daily updates for this year’s AIMC. That’s not because of the snow cone addiction I have developed since visiting the Frozen photobooth by Disney. There are just quite a few restrictions in place on what we can and can’t write.
There have always been embargoes for publishing film reviews, which is fair enough – I’m with the film companies on that one, I’d rather promote a film closer to release too.
But now, just mentioning the name of which films were screened to us, or talking about what is coming up in the new year, is totally off limits for some studios. So in the interest of not cutting myself off from future presentations – which are really incredibly helpful – I’ll just mention what I can.
Let’s start on safer ground, with the movie convention opening address and keynote speeches. Outgoing chairman of the National Association of Cinema Owners Peter Beattie took the opportunity to ram home the importance of fighting online piracy.
For example, did you know that:
The copyright industry is worth $93billion in Australia? Exports are worth $7billion? There are 900,000 jobs in creative industries in Australia?
Most shocking, when it comes to illegal downloading of online content, Australians are the worst offenders.
“I am ashamed to say that per capita Australia has the highest illegal downloading rates in the world,” said Dr Beattie. “Those behind piracy sites are only in it for the money, primarily revenue from advertising (gambling and porn sites), and they have their snouts well and truly stuck in the money trough…If the legal risks start to outweigh the illegal profits then fewer players will pursue this criminal route.”
Marc Wooldridge, chairman of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, said that in the face of new technology and increased competition, Australia has proven to be fairly resilient. Other key points:
- Australia grossed over $1billion in box office receipts in 2012.
- While not a record year, business was still up 3% on 2011 figures.
- The Top 10 films of 2012 made up 29% of total box office for the year. This was topped by The Avengers.
- The Avengers became the 3rd biggest ever film released in Australia, with a $53.2million take.
- Boxing Day 2012 grossed $9.75million in one day. This was 47% more than any other year. It was the biggest Boxing Day in Australian history.
- Over 90% of screens are now converted to digital, according to MPDAAdata, and the majority of the remaining sites are in final stages of conversion.
“While none of us can, or should be complacent, the business in Australia has been remarkably resilient and continues to trend comfortably over $1B in gross box office receipts over the last 3 years,” said Mr Wooldridge.
And now, onto the films!
After a quality opening night film in Captain Phillips, Sony Pictures started the presentation with a different kind of blockbuster: an almost completed trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel to last year’s reboot of the Marvel superhero starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. He has been pitted against a very unsexy looking opponent in Jamie Foxx, who plays Electro. Garfield’s real-life girlfriend returns as Spider Man love interest, Gwen Stacy.
Next came a few short clips from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the quirky animated family comedy opening early December. Gold Coast singer turned global teen superstar Cody Simpson (pictured above at the film’s LA premiere) has sung the “end credits” track for the film called La Dee Dee, the summer single from his Surfers Paradise album. Hopefully, this means he’ll be on premiere duties for the film’s release in Australia.
Onto the festival favourites this season, and first cab off the rank will be Kill Your Darlings, which looks certain to do for Daniel Radcliffe what The Paperboy did for Zac Efron. Namely, give them acting chops while getting me to look at them as young men, not big kids in tween franchises. (See Miley, there are alternatives to fornicating with a sledgehammer to ditch your good girl image.)
Spike Jonze’s Her looks equally interesting. It made its world premiere as the closing night at New York Film Festival last week and stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde and Rooney Mara. Yet it is Scarlett Johansson who plays the female lead, even if we never see her face – she voices the computer program that Joaquin Phoenix installs to help sort out his life.
Most intriguing of all must be The Armstrong Lie. The cyclist spent most of 2009 lying directly to doco maker Alex Gibney about not taking drugs, only to do a complete u-turn and finally admit to the claims, looking like a completely shattered, broken man in the process. Here is the new trailer:
A couple of other highlights coming soon featuring Aussies are the horror sequel Insidious 2 starring Rose Byrne and directed by Saw co-creator, Australia’s James Wan; and Abbie Cornish in the RoboCop reboot, a hi-tech update of the popular sci-fi favourite.
Today’s special guest: the delectable Don Hany, below, in attendance at the AIDA Awards Dinner last night.