Vastly Different Profit Picture For Oz Movie, TV Biz
What many have suspected about the poor batting average of Australian films is confirmed in a new study. Only about one in 15 reaches break-even financially or pays returns to investors. That’s according to IBISWorld’s Australian Film and Video Production report. TV fares much better. Miniseries and telemovies usually offer a return of 20% or more, especially if they are well-received in the U.S. The report, which excludes in-house productions by Oz TV networks, forecasts film and TV production and post-production revenues will grow by 1.2% to $A2.43 billion ($2.5 billion) in 2012-13 after an average drop of 0.4% in the past five years when there was a marked decline in film production. Production and post industries are expected to achieve modest profits of $138.3 million in 2012-13. Village Roadshow has the largest market share with 10.8%, followed by Endemol Southern Star (8.6%), Fremantle Media Australia (5.2%) and Beyond International (3.6%). Production has been stimulated by the greater availability of risk film capital and the government’s rebate scheme for film and TV productions. Industry revenue is forecast to grow by 1.9% per year, reaching $2.67 billion in 2017-18. Separately, the Australian Film and Video Distribution report cites struggles with weakened demand and falling DVD prices. Film, video and TV distribution revenues are projected to reach $2.61 billion in 2012-13, up 0.7%, generating profits of $256.2 million. Sector is dominated by Village Roadshow with 14.2% market share, Warner Bros. Entertainment (11.6%), Fox Home Entertainment (11.5%) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (5%). -Don Groves

Christine Vachon Heads San Sebastian Jury
Indie producer Christine Vachon of Killer Films will serve as president of the official selection jury at the 60th San Sebastian Film Festival that runs September 21-29 in the Spanish port city. Fellow jurors include actor Ricardo Darin, screenwriter Michel Gaztambide, cinematographer Peter Suschitzky and directorrs Mia Hansen-Love, Julie Taymor and Agusti Villaronga. Opening night film is writer-director Nicholas Jarecki’s competition entry Arbitrage which stars Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Laetitia Casta and Brit Marling. Another competition film is Sergio Castellitto’s Twice Born, which stars Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch. Closing night picture is Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman from Ronald Harwood’s screenplay and screening out of competition. It stars Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon and Sheridan Smith. Also screening are Costa-Gavras’ The Capital; Francois Ozon’s In The House with Fabrice Luchini, Kristin Scott Thomas and Emmanuelle Seigner; plus Lasse Hallström’s The Hypnotist with Lena Olin, Mikael Persbrandt and Tobias Zilliacus. Also out-of-competition is Argo, which just screened in Telluride and Toronto, in which director Ben Affleck plays a CIA agent who poses as a filmmaker in the true story about the rescue of six Americans sheltered in the Canadian ambassador’s Tehran home during the Iran hostage crisis. Co-stars are John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston. Screenplay is by Chris Terrio. Also screening out of competition is director Juan Antonio’s The Impossible, featuring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as a couple with three kids who survive the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. -Deadline Team

HBO Asia Orders Private Eye Series
HBO Asia has commissioned its first original drama series, Serangoon Road, the saga of an Australian-born private detective in 1960s Singapore. Don Hany plays P.I. Sam Callaghan, who was scarred by his experiences in WW2 Japanese internment camps and by fighting in the Malayan Emergency. Joan Chen plays a neighbor who asks Sam to run the agency founded by her murdered husband, and Maeve Dermody plays his lover. He tangles with the Triads and foreign powers as the City-State undergoes racial and political turmoil. The 10-part drama is an Australia/Singapore co-production linking Paul Barron’s Perth-based Great Western Entertainment and Singapore’s Infinite Studios. Financiers include HBO Asia, Australia’s ABC TV and ABC Commercial, agency ScreenWest and distributor Content Television and Digital. –Don Groves