Posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008 by David Chen
Those who listen to our movie podcast know that I’m a fan of Baz Luhrmann and of Australia (go here to hear our review with the Scene Unseen podcast). I was disappointed and disheartened by that film’s poor box office performance; according to BOMojo, its production budget was $130 million, but it’s only taken in a bit north of $43 million domestically. Australia had a lot of problems, but I felt like Luhrmann was bold to tell the story how he did and I’ll take Luhrmann’s failures over successful studio pablum any day. Apparently, mainstream audiences don’t agree with me.
Neither do pirates. The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that illegal copies of Australia have begun showing up on BitTorrent sites. Despite this, though, the demand for these copies appears to be low, primarily because people may not even be willing to watch a pirated movie that’s almost three hours long and that received lackluster reviews. Also, the copies are “CAMs,” which are low-quality copies made by someone bringing a camcorder into the theater. While it’s good to hear that piracy isn’t torpedoing the film’s box office receipts, it’s sad that this in some way indicates how few people really want to watch this movie.
The thought of someone watching Luhrmann’s epic on a small computer screen with crappy quality sends a shiver down my spine. Don’t pirate Australia! Go see it in theaters. If there’s one movie this season that deserves the big screen treatment, it’s this one (plus maybe Benjamin Button).
Discuss: What did you think of Australia? Did it deserve its box office fate?