The potential of making a good Oz film

It’s an interesting divide, the difference between the Oz box office figures and the watchful eye of Big Cinema, that is to say, American cinema. I suppose you can narrow that down to LA.

I was wondering the other day, whilst watching Buffalo Soldiers, why on earth I’d bought it. It’s a relatively big budget American movie that tries too hard and misses. The only logical reason was an Australian connection and indeed that was the case. Gregor Jordan made Two Hands, a delightful caper movie, one of the few Oz movies to make a profit, but not one that you’d think would have investors running from cover. Yet he was given the ‘opportunity’ to make a Hollywood movie with more money, I imagine, than he’d seen in his life. Buffalo Soldiers had a budget of $15M and a box office of $2M.

Apparently that’s a small potatoes loss by US standards. They gave him another shot. Nine years later in 2010 he spent another $15M making Unthinkable. The box office was $5M.

I’m at a loss to understand why, WHY, those involved in making wonderful films in Australia prefer to make bad ones in the US. I feel like they are betraying themselves, the art of the film, and the community from which they emanate. Come back home, all of you. Make small potatoes films that lose small potato pots of money, but are genuinely interesting pieces of work that can fulfill that ultimate purpose of anybody’s art: to be their contribution to the never-ending conversation about the meaning of life.


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