Even with feel-good flicks like The Sapphires shining at the Australian box office this year, no Aussie film appears in 2012's Top 10 grossing movies**.

TOP 10 FOR 2012

Australians clearly favoured comic adaptations, with Joss Whedon's The Avengers making like The Hulk and smashing its way to the No.1 spot, taking a whopping $53.25 million at the local box office. Batman soared into second spot, with Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises pulling in $43.35 million.

Seth Macfarlane's feature film debut Ted, an adult comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and a CGI teddy bear, was a surprise hit, earning $34.47 million to round out the top three.

The Hunger Games, based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling book, led the teen novel adaptations in fourth spot, compared to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 in seventh place. However, Twilight's run at the movies hasn't finished yet, so those vampires could always make a last-minute comeback.

Children's animations Ice Age 4: Continental Drift and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted finished in fifth and sixth place, while on the other end of the spectrum, oldies crowd-pleaser The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel took eighth place. Coming in ninth was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and last but not least was Snow White and the Huntsman.

While an Australian movie didn't make the top 10, Aussie Chris Hemsworth's films actually bookended the list, with the down-to-earth actor starring as Thor in The Avengers and as the Huntsman alongside Twilight's Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman.

HOW DID AUSSIE FILMS PERFORM?

Just as Red Dog was a firm favourite in 2011, in 2012 The Sapphires was the movie to see. The feel-good musical about Australia's version of the Supremes, starring Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman and Bridesmaids star Chris O'Dowd, notched up $14.30 million at the Aussie box office and recently dominated the AACTA Award nominations (our version of the Oscars), with 12 nods.

Australia is not known for its romantic comedies and this year two surprisingly good ones failed to get noticed. Any Questions for Ben?, made by the guys behind The Castle, raked in a less-than-expected $1.60 million. Not Suitable for Children, despite premiering at Sydney Film Festival's Opening Night and featuring excellent performances from Sarah Snook and Ryan Kwanten, only earned just over the half-million mark.

Bait 3D just made it over the million dollar mark locally after receiving cripplingly bad reviews from Australian critics. But the B-grade shark movie earned double that on its opening day in China, and in less than two weeks pulled in more than $20 million, becoming the most successful Australian movie ever released there.

Another movie pummelled with bad reviews locally was Kath and Kimderella, but that didn't stop the Australian public from spending $6.06 million on it. Another broad comedy, A Few Best Men, divided critics but went on to earn $5.30 million.

Mental, which reunited PJ Hogan with his Muriel's Wedding star Toni Collette, also received mixed reviews but Aussie audiences embraced it, with the film notching up $4.08 million.

Excellent thriller Wish You Were Here, which opened Sundance Film Festival in January and was hailed as the new Animal Kingdom, grossed $1.65 million locally. Another festival favourite, Cate Shortland's Somersault follow-up Lore, has been wowing audiences and winning awards across the globe, but stopped short of the $300,000 mark in Australia.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2013

Much like the best box office performers in 2012, the highly-anticipated films of 2013 are comic adaptations, with new Superman movie Man of Steel, Chris Hemsworth's return in Thor 2, The Wolverine with Hugh Jackman, and Iron Man 3 featuring Robert Downey Jr at the top of the list.

Australian director Baz Luhrmann's adaptation The Great Gatsby is set for a May release, while other Aussie films and co-productions releasing include I, Frankenstein starring Aaron Eckhart, Mothers featuring Naomi Watts (recently picked for Sundance), The Railway Man with Nicole Kidman, Drift with Sam Worthington, and Satellite Boy, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Australia's Jai Courtney is set to star in A Good Day to Die Hard as the son of John McClane (Bruce Willis) and will also feature in Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise. Yippee ki-yay. Meanwhile US psychological thriller Stoker features a cast brimming with Australian talent, including Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Jacki Weaver.

Sequels will also be eagerly awaited in 2013, including the next Hunger Games film Catching Fire, the second instalment of Sir Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, and Star Trek Into Darkness.

About 20 movies currently releasing in 2013 are sequels, ranging from animated (Despicable Me 2), to comedy (The Hangover Part III), horror (Paranormal Activity 5) and action (Kick-Ass 2). However there are also prequels in the pipeline like Monsters University.

The Australian box office Top Ten for 2012**

1. THE AVENGERS - $53.25m, released 25 April

2. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - $43.35m, released 19 July

3. TED - $34.47m, released 5 July

4. THE HUNGER GAMES - $31.18m, released 22 March

5. ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT - $27.63m, released 28 June

6. MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED - $24.10m, released 13 September

7. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 2 - $21.93m, released 15 November

8. THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL - $21.42m, released 22 March

9. SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS - $20.08m, released 5 January

10. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN - $19.85m, released 21 June



** Figures according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia as at November 28, 2012

AAP ceb/tm 

DailyStyle