While reports about the Aussie film industry generally feature an atmosphere of doom and gloom, that’s not the case this time. 

Nobody’s asking the question of why Aussies don’t go and see locally made movies, because apparently, this year we all did. 

In fact, in terms of raw dollars, 2015 has been the best year ever for locally-made films, which have taken in a collective $84 million at the Australian box office, commanding a not-too-shabby 7.7% of the yearly total. 

Last year, after a particularly dismal run for locally-made films, we asked the question of what the hell it takes to make Australians actually plant our butts down on cinema seats and see locally-made product. 

At the time, we determined that a certain amount of overseas talent and financing often contribute to a local film’s success, while comediesunderdog storiesfamily-friendly fare and films featuring animals tend to go over well, too. 

Looking at 2015’s crop of successful Aussie films, it seems like the criteria we came up with weren’t that far off.

The two biggest films of the year – Mad Max: Fury Road and The Dressmaker – made $21.67 and $15.23 million respectively, with both featuring high-profile overseas talent, playing underdog heroes and heroines.

The next highest-grossing film on the list, Oddball, was a feel-good family film that featured an actual, literal dog, something we as a nation tend to go apeshit over. 

Today, The Age ran a list of all the Aussie films that made over $1 million this year at the local box office, contributing to that impressive $84 million total. They are:

Mad Max: Fury Road ($21.67 million)

The Dressmaker ($15.23 million)

Oddball ($10.8 million)

The Water Diviner ($10.18 million)

Paper Planes ($9.65 million)

Last Cab to Darwin ($7.32 million)

Blinky Bill the Movie ($2.89 million)

That Sugar Film ($1.71 million)

Holding the Man ($1.24 million)

With no Baz Luhrmann film and no immediate Mad Max sequel on the horizon, there’s no way of knowing whether next year will be another good one, or whether we’ll sink back to the level of 2014, our lowest-grossing year since the ’70s.

The Age quoted Screen Australia chief Graeme Mason, who said that this year’s big showing comes down to Aussie filmmakers for thinking of their audiences, saying:

“We have to aim to make stories that connect with people. I don’t mean everything has to be at the multiplex, but there’s got to be a story that could – if the stars align – really resonate and connect with an audience. You can’t make stuff for what an audience SHOULD want. You have to think, ‘Would I go see it, where would I go see it, and would my friends go and see it?’ That is the reason for the success of this year’s crop.”

via The Age