Mental director PJ Hogan: box office success for Australian films is about word of mouth – not marketing

Films can rely on marketing for a strong opening weekend, but success or failure at the box office is ultimately about word of mouth, says one of Australia’s leading directors.

PJ Hogan, whose film Mental, starring Toni Collette, opens today at the box office told Mumbrella’s Colin Delaney: “Australians, when they chose to go to watch an Australian movie, it’s completely about word of mouth – marketing will only get you an opening weekend.”

“If you’ve got the goods and the distributor allows enough time for the film to build, they’ll show up,” he said.

Hogan said of Australian cinema audiences: “I can’t pretend to be knowledgeable about why Australians don’t go to see Australian films. I tell you what I have noticed – they either turn up in droves or they don’t turn out at all.”

“When I left the country it was at a time when Australian films, really had Australian audiences, that was the time of Strictly Ballroom, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding, and then we lost them, and I don’t know why.”

With Mental, the director turns his lens on Australia for the first time in 18 years since his debut feature film, Muriel’s Wedding.

Mental, also written by Hogan, is based on his real-life crazy nanny Shaz played by Collette and his mental family. It stars Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Shreiber and Rebecca Gibney.

The film is distributed by Universal Pictures.



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