Films earn money from various sources, including theatrical distribution, home video, television broadcast rights, and merchandising. However, theatrical box office earnings are the primary metric used by trade publications to assess a film’s success, owing primarily to the availability of data compared to sales figures for home video and broadcast rights and historical practice. But do you know what Australian film was the highest-grossing worldwide?
Crocodile Dundee was the highest-grossing Australian film of all time, the highest-grossing Australian film globally, the second-highest-grossing film in the United States in 1986, and the highest-grossing non-US film at the US box office ever, and the second-highest-grossing film worldwide in 1986.
Does Crocodile Dundee Have a Real-Life Inspiration?
Crocodile Dundee, which was released in 1986, became a worldwide phenomenon. The Paul Hogan film was the second highest-grossing film in the United States that year, trailing only Top Gun.
The Oscar-nominated film was a showcase for Australia, elevating Hogan from a local celebrity to an international superstar.
Paul Hogan has stated numerous times that the character of Crocodile Dundee was not based on anyone in real life.
I felt like an alien from another planet. Some of the “Bushie” guys I know would feel even more out of place. There’s a myth that there is a real Crocodile Dundee but there isn’t.Paul Hogan, Actor in Crocodile Dundee
However, many people consider Rod Ansell to be the true inspiration. Ansell made international headlines in 1977 after surviving in the outback for two months after his boat capsized on the Fitzmaurice River in the Northern Territory.
In 1981, he was interviewed in Sydney by Michael Parkinson, and he reportedly chose to sleep in his swag on the floor of his five-star hotel room rather than in the bed. (Source: Australia News)
Ansell demanded royalties from Hogan’s management after seeing Crocodile Dundee at the cinema but was unsuccessful.
He became depressed, began using drugs, and died in a shootout with police in 1999, during which Ansell shot and killed a police officer. (Source: Australia News)
How Much Did Production Invest in the Film?
INXS frontman Michael Hutchence was one of 1400 investors who contributed to the film’s funding. The film cost $US7.1 million to produce, with Hogan and his business partner John Cornell each contributing $600,000 to the cause.
The monetary risk absolutely paid off. The film grossed $US328 million worldwide, with profits split evenly between the investors and Hogan and Cornell’s production company. (Source: Australia News)
When the film was released in the United States, the word Crocodile was surrounded by quotation marks.
This was due to Paramount executives’ concerns that the film would be perceived as a “swamp” film.
There have been reptile movies — one was even named Alligator. We wanted everyone to know “Crocodile” was a nickname.Barry London, President of Distribution at Paramount
More than seven minutes of footage was cut for American audiences, mostly scenes containing a slew of Australian expressions that US moviegoers didn’t understand. (Source: Australia News)
Image from MUBI