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Is it time to make low-budget Australian movies cheaper at the cinema?

“I dont think cheaper tickets will encourage people to see films,” says Alice Foulcher, co-writer an..

“I dont think cheaper tickets will encourage people to see films,” says Alice Foulcher, co-writer and star of Thats Not Me. “But I do think they should cap the prices because theyre getting ridiculous.”

Independent exhibitor Eddie Tamir (owner of Melbournes Classic, Cameo and Lido cinemas) thinks a cut-price for cut-price films undermines the broader offering of the cinema experience. Besides, he says, “theres something about it that feels a bit patronising, like making Australian film a charity case – it could be a bit of a slippery slope.”

Warwick Thornton's Sweet Country.

Photo: Mark Rogers

Actress Sigrid Thornton, though, can see some value in at least considering “some lateral solutions to what is obviously an ongoing and contentious problem for the industry”.

That problem, she says, can be boiled down to one simple factor: “We are a small, English-speaking country with a very small cottage industry … [and] we are in competition – hopeless competition, really – with the other English-speaking countries, and in serious danger of being swamped.”

Thornton – who is one of the signatories of the Keep It Australian campaign, which is urging stronger support for local film and television production amid fears the federal government may be persuaded to abandon it at the next budget – suggests that we might learn from France, where foreign titles at the cinema are taxed in order to support local production. Foulcher and Tamir both suggest that might be an idea worth considering too.

Village Cinemas general manager Gino Munari can see some merit in the idea of tiered pricing. “I like putting them in categories,” he says. “Its like a soccer tournament where you might have the best player under 22, whos never going to be the best player when up against a Cristiano Ronaldo. You segment and assess so youre competing with like films rather than competing against blockbusters.”

Emma Booth and Stephen Curry in Hounds of Love.

Photo: Supplied

That said, he doesnt think ticket price is ultimately what deters people from seeing Australian movies. “There are a lot of other factors at play,” Munari says. “People will still need to want to see the film – thats driven by the hook, what promotion is being done, it might be review-led.”

Over at rival exhibitor Hoyts, the recently launched Homegrown campaign aims to turn Australianness into a virtue, even if the notion of Australianness is a rather broad one.

“It could be that the movie was filmed in Australia … feature[s] Australian actors, production teams, editing”. The aim is to highlight “everything you want to know about Australia's involvement in movies”.

While encouraging people to see Thor Ragnarok (filmed on the Gold Coast and starring Chris Hemsworth) might not directly drive people to take a punt on Hounds of Love or Sweet Country, fostering an awareness and appreciation of the full breadth of our industry cant hurt.

And if that does encourage someone to choose a low-budget picture such as Pawno over the latest Marvel blockbuster – or even alongside it – well, says Eddie Tamir, so much the better.

“I think theres something miraculous to the story of underdog, low-budget films getting up against the $200 million blockbuster,” he says. “Thats part of the romance of this business.”

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Karl Quinn

Karl has been a journalist at Fairfax Media since 1999, in a variety of writing and editing roles. Karl writes about popular culture with a particular focus on film and television.

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007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.

Image: Cast members (l-r): Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch at the launch of the new Bond film

Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.

"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.

"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.

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"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

Sean Connery and Mie Hama in You Only Live Twice, 1967
Image: The Bond films have been criticised for their sexism
Dr No turned Sean Connery into an international superstar
Image: Dr No featured the famous scene with Ursula Andress walking out of the sea in a white bikini

Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".

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She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.

"As an actrRead More – Source (more…)

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Sir Elton hits out at Russia for ‘cruel’ Rocketman censorship

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic..

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman.

The critically acclaimed film charts the British singer's rise to fame, and its scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, contributed to it earning a 15 certificate in the UK.

But in a bid to play down the sexuality of Sir Elton, played by actor Taron Egerton, for a conservative Russian audience, an estimated five minutes of footage was reportedly removed ahead of its debut in Moscow.

Taron Egerton on Sir Elton: 'I adore him'

The Moscow Times quoted a Russian film critic who had seen the film at its world premiere in Cannes on 16 May as saying "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut", as well as a photo displayed during the end credits featuring Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish.

Sir Elton, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, released a joint statement with the makers of the film to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".

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"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," they said.

"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

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"We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to pushRead More – Source

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Ben Affleck steps out to drop off kids as Robert Pattinson is announced as new Batman

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)
Ben Affleck has been pictured ..

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)

Ben Affleck has been pictured performing his parental duties in Los Angeles, as his official replacement in the Batman role is announced.

The 46-year-old actor was seen in the early hours on Friday (31 May) dropping off son Samuel, seven, and daughter Seraphina, 10, to school.

Affleck has three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner – Seraphina, Samuel and 13-year-old Violet.

On the same day the actor was pictured, it was announced Robert Pattinson will take over as Batman in a planned trilogy of movies with director Matt Reeves.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck was on parent duties (Picture: Backgrid)

Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 2017s Justice League, stepped down from the role in January earlier this year – after being originally down to direct and star in his own film.

More: Ben Affleck

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Speaking about his departure in March, Affleck stated how he was never happy with the script they were planning to use.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck has a number of roles in the pipeline (Picture: Backgrid)
Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck with son Samuel and daughter Seraphina (Picture: Backgrid)

We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source

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