THE Australian low-budget movie Red Dog was the shock winner at the first Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards - but few out and about on the Sunshine Coast seemed to be surprised yesterday.
The hit movie was named best film at the awards, renamed this year from the Australian Film Industry awards.
The film, shot on a shoestring budget in Western Australia's north, has raked in more than $21 million at the box office, a spectacular result for any Australian film.
From all reports, the movie is doing well in the DVD stores now, too.
It is about a red cattle dog that captures the hearts of a mining community in the 1970s. It was reportedly based on a true story.
Birch Carroll and Coyle's Maroochydore Cinemas manager David Whidborne said he was not surprised by the film's success.
Mr Whidborne said the film had had a run of almost four months at the cinemas.
He said that was better than many so-called blockbusters.
"They will get good audiences for a couple of weeks - maybe three - then it slows down," he said.
"Red Dog started slowly, but after three weeks, we were getting big crowds in - and they were consistent. Word of mouth obviously played a big part in it."
Mr Whidbourne said Red Dog had had an exceptional run.
"We were still screening it after it was brought out on DVD, and it was still doing well," he said.
"I can't remember any film - let alone an Australian film - doing so well.
Mr Whidborne said Red Dog was his favourite Australian film of 2011, followed by The Cup and The Eye of the Storm.
Noosa Five Cinemas general manager Lindsay Dodd had a slightly different view.
He nominated The Cup, beating Red Dog by a nose.
But as far as popularity went, Red Dog had a long season there, too - eight weeks.
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