MasterChef: The Professionals stays above 1m on second outing

The Ten network’s MasterChef: The Professionals delivered another strong set of ratings in its second outing last night, again the most watched non-news program of the night with 1.019m capital city viewers.

Importantly for Ten it was the most watched show in the key advertising demographics of 16-39 and 18-49-year-old according to preliminary overnight metro ratings from OzTAM.

The Matt Preston and Marco Pierre White hosted show easily won its 7.30pm-8.30pm timeslot, setting itself up nicely for next Monday’s battle when Seven’s My Kitchen Rules goes up against it. Read more »

Life of Pi remains at top of box office

Life of Pi stayed unchallenged at the top of the Australian Box Office over the weekend, with adult comedy This Is 40 the only film opening on a major release.

The Ang Lee-directed Life of Pi made $2.859m at the box office over the weekend across 552 screens for a $5,180 average. The film is in its third week in release for Fox.

Also maintaining strong numbers is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which made $2.016m. In its fourth week, the film is running across 443 screens for a $4,552 average and stands at $38.404m for distributor Warner Bros. Read more »

Yardbird wins Best Australian Film at Flickerfest

Short film Yardbird was named Best Australian Short Film at Flickerfest. The film was directed by Good Oil’s Michael Spiccia, written by Julius Avery and produced by Jessica Mitchell.

The film had previously been accepted into the Cannes International Film Festival.

The award is Academy accredited which means the film may be entered for consideration to the Oscars. Read more »

MasterChef: The Professionals delivers strong first night

The Ten network’s gamble on MasterChef: The Professionals paid off last night with the show being the most watched non-news program of the night.

Rain in Sydney dented Nine’s one day cricket game between Australia and Sri Lanka, giving the cooking program more than enough air to breath in its debut and setting it up for a healthy series run. The show features chef Marco Pierre White and regular Masterchef judge Matt Preston.

Read more »

ABC picks up Adam Hills’ UK-based show

Adam Hills: The Last Leg team: Brooker, Hills & Widdicombe

ABC1 has bought Adam Hill’s UK series called Adam Hills: The Last Leg.

Hills hosts a panel that includes regular panelists Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker and celebrity guests into the events and news that shaped the UK over the past week, in an attempt to answer matters on taboo subjects.

The eight by 30 minute episodes commissioned by Channel 4 follows a similar format from the former Spicks and Specks host’s series that ran during last year’s Paralympics. It reviewed the game’s significant moments and attempted to navigate difficult subject matter and delicate issues, with audience participation. Read more »

Life of Pi overtakes The Hobbit in box office while Gangster Squad opens strongly

Ang Lee’s Life of Pi moved to the number one spot on the Australian box office at the weekend above Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

An increase of the number of screens from 466 last weekend to 556 this weekend by distributor Fox helped Life Of Pi take $3.953m for a $7,109 per screen average, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia.  Read more »

Flat fee distribution company Backlot Studios launches with Richard Gray’s Blinder

A new company has launched into the Australian film distribution sector charging producers a flat fee for its service.

The model varies from a typical film distribution company which takes a percentage of box office revenue.

The Melbourne-based Backlot Studios is led by directors Tony Ianiro and Mark D’Angelo, both most recently of Paramount Pictures.

The company’s first film will be director Richard Gray’s Aussie Rules-based film Blinder. It opens on March 7.

D’Angelo told Encore: Read more »

Top of the Lake to air in Australia in March as first look trailer is also released

The Australian production company behind The King’s Speech has released the first public look at its highly anticipated first TV series, Top of the Lake.

The TV series is directed by Jane Campion and Garth Davis. Campion is best known for the film The Piano while Davis’s advertising work includes the Toohey’s ad Nocturnal Migration and branded piece Burn for Coca Cola.

Top of The Lake – which airs on pay TV channel UKTV on March 24 – has been executive produced by See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning.

Read more »

Jackman, Watts and Weaver receive Oscar nominations

Three Australian actors, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts and Jacki Weaver have received nominations from the Academy Awards overnight.

Hugh Jackman has received an Oscar nomination for Les Misérables, alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master and Denzel Washington in Flight. Read more »

Tropfest releases trailer directed by 2012 winner Alethea Jones

Tropfest has released the trailer to its 2013 festival, directed by last year’s winner, Alethea Jones.

The whimsical trailer tells the story of how the balloon, Tropfest’s signature item which must appear in every film entry, was first created. Read more »

ABC sets date for Adam Zwar’s The Agony of Life

Adam Zwar returns to ABC1 with his agony aunts and uncles giving advice on Wednesday February 6 from 9pm.

The new series The Agony of Life is a light entertainment series which continues on from his two series of last year with life advice from comedians and media personalities. Read more »

Nine News switches to rolling news coverage of Australia’s bush fire crisis

Nine has switched to rolling coverage of Australia’s bush fire crisis.

The coverage began with Nine News Now at 3pm eastern, in just the broadcast’s second day, followed by a special report from 4pm presented by Amelia Adams. Read more »

Nine News Now at 3pm targets women

Nine has launched its new afternoon news show Nine News Now, airing at 3PM.

The hour-long show is hosted by Wendy Kingston.

Covering news, entertainment and panel discussions of the day’s topics but with limited sports coverage, the show is aimed at stay-at-home mothers and women over 55. Read more »

Brian ‘Spoonman’ Carlton leaves media industry in ‘a massive period of contraction’

Brian ‘Spoonman’ Carlton leaves industry

After 29 years, radio presenter and journalist Brian Carlton has decided to quit the media industry.

His announcement on Twitter today followed the news in October that Southern Cross Austereo would not be renewing Carlton’s contract with Triple M Sydney where he presented weekday news opinion under the name Spoonman since 2005. He has also been a regular contributor to Paul Murray’s PM Live on Sky News.

Carlton told Mumbrella today: Read more »

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey now stands at $28m locally

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey remains at the top of the Australian box office results in its second weekend of release.

The film, distributed by Warner Brothers added another $5.854m over the weekend, taking the film’s cumulated box office to a massive $28.637m.

The prequel to the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy made history as the biggest Boxing Day opening film in Australian history, taking a gross of $5.9m on the day. Read more »

Foxtel admits errors as subscribers vent over movie changes

Foxtel today admitted thousands of customers were upset by its changes to its movie channel platforms with a spokesman saying there had been a lack of effective communication to explain the new set up.

But the subscription TV network was determined to stick with the changes, which saw 15 movie channels cut to 11 without a price drop for the premium channels.

“There has been a fair bit of customer response at our call centre and we are trying to deal with a lot of complaints from people who are unhappy with the changes,” Foxtel corporate affairs spokesman Bruce Meagher told Mumbrella today. Read more »

The 2012 box office

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look back at the year at the box office.

1.The Sapphires

Feel good comedy musical The Sapphires found a broad audience that translated well at the box office. Based on a stage play, the story of an indigenous all-girl soul group that entertained the troops in Vietnam during the war delivered for local distributor Hopscotch/eOne.

Box Office: $14.23m

2. Happy Feet 2

Director George Miller’s Happy Feet 2, the animated pic from Miller’s Dr D Studios, opened in late 2011 and made $10m at the box office through January and February for Roadshow.

Box Office: $10.6m

3. Kath & Kimderella

Written and produced by foxy ladies Gina Riley and Jane Turner,  the film version of Australian sitcom Kath & Kim wasn’t a critical smash but it had the numbers behind it for Roadshow.

Box office: $6.06m

4. A Few Best Men

Director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Stephan Elliott returned home to direct A Few Best Men. The film sees a bunch of British lads ruin a classy Australian wedding in a twist of stereotypes.

Box office: $5.296m

5. Mental

Mental was director PJ Hogan’s first Australian film in 18 years.

With an all-star cast including Toni Collette, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber and Rebecca Gibney, the film tells the story of Hogan’s unusual childhood.

Box office: $3.96m (still playing)

6. Wish You Were Here

Kieran Darcy-Smith’s debut feature Wish You Were Here, starring Joel Edgerton and set in idyllic south-east Asia, was a thriller that kept audiences guessing.

Box office: $1.65m

7. Any Questions For Ben

Made by the team from Working Dog, the comedians behind The Castle and The Dish, Any Questions For Ben broke from their traditional, established ocker tone delivering a cosmopolitan quarter-life crisis comedy/love story starring Josh Lawson and Rachael Taylor.

Box office: $1.6m

Read more »

The top film and TV directors of 2012

Wayne Blair

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we take a look at the top film and television directors in 2012.

1. Wayne Blair

Wayne Blair’s feature directing debut The Sapphires premiered at Cannes this year before being snapped up by US production guru Harvey Weinstein. It went on to become the highest grossing Australian film of 2012. Blair also flexed his directing muscle on indigenous series Redfern Now. In 2013 he’ll work on the show’s second series as well as The Gods of Wheat Street, another indigenous drama for the ABC.

2. Glendyn Ivin

From Southern Star’s stable, Glendyn Ivin’s claustrophobic telemovie Beaconsfield rated 1.6m for Nine while his direction of Ten’s Puberty Blues was well received. The series has been picked up for a second season.

3. Peter Ots

Nine’s hugely successful The Voice, which wiped the shiny floor with competitor Australia’s Got Talent this year, has turned around the fortunes of Peter Ots who was best known in 2011 for directing the catastrophic Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth.

4. Amiel Courtin-Wilson

Despite having one of the smallest Australian releases, Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s film Hail was a critical success. After premiering in Venice in 2011, the film won the Melbourne Film Festival critic’s choice award.

5. Daina Reid

Also from Southern Star’s stable of directors, Diana Reid hit ratings gold with two-part series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War. Reid is currently working on ABC’s Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, the sequel to The Birth of Cleo.

Kieran Darcy-Smith

Actor-turned-director Kieran Darcy-Smith delivered tense thriller Wish You Were Here in 2012.

6. Kieran Darcy-Smith

Actor-turned-director Kieran Darcy-Smith delivered tense thriller Wish You Were Here in 2012.

7. Genevieve Bailey

The director of I Am Eleven saw her documentary about 11 11-year-olds from 15 countries become a sneaking hit with Australia’s doco lovers taking more than $322,000 at the box office.

Read more »

 
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