Tag: Mad Max

Japan’s Crucial Role in Turning “Mad Max” into a Global Aussie Icon

The Japanese movie poster for “Mad Max”

Turning the clock back 40 years, Japan played a crucial role in giving Australia a leg-up toward becoming a player in the global movie industry.
In late 1977, a couple of fledgling Australian filmmakers pooled their meager funds and shot a movie starring mostly unknown young actors and actual motorcycle gang members serving as extras.
Almost two years later, Mad Max opened Australian theaters and became a steady, but controversial hit. The car action movie was immediately banned in New Zealand as some of its motorcycle gang violence resembled actual events in the market most closely resembling Australia’s.
Australia’s movie industry was in the middle of a growing renaissance, backed by a generous government funding program and the emergence of a large number of talented directors and actors. Mad Max was made for a mere pittance in movie terms, costing just $350,000. Backed by the steady performance at the Australian box office, the movie’s first overseas sale was made to Japan, then a country where bosozoku motorcycle gangs were having their heyday.
Mad Max became a massive hit in the world’s second-largest movie market. This Big in Japan success made overseas sales a much easier task and the movie was sold widely across the globe. It would be a slow burner that flared following the phenomenal success of its first sequel, Mad Max 2, released in 1981. The box office for Mad Max would eventually surpass $100 million and for more than two decades it would hold the world record for the greatest ratio between production cost and box office.

“Fist of the North Star”

These sales led to a sequel and opened the door for the actor in the title role,Mel Gibson, to become a global superstar (until he destroyed his career a quarter of a century later in a drunken rant about Jews followed by enraged verbal and allegedly physical attacks on the mother of his youngest child). Further sequels, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, which came out in 1985, and 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road with Briton Tom Hardy playing the titular character.
Mad Max created an enormous legacy that went much further than the sequels and Gibson turning into a Hollywood superstar. The effects were particularly strong in terms of Australia-Japan collaborations. The movie itself benefited greatly from Kawasaki, which donated all the motorcycles used in the film. But there was much more.
Drawing heavily from the Mad Max saga, the enduring Fist of the North Star would become one of Japan’s most successful manga in the 1980s and made stars of its writer, Buronsanand illustrator, Tetsuo Hara.
Akira Kushida would get one of his early hits with Rollin’ into the Night, which played over the end credits of the Japanese version of the movie.
As noted in the accompanying newspaper article from the May 10, 1982, edition of the Melbourne Age, the success of the early editions in the series would spark joint movie production efforts between Japan and Australia.
The article mentions a movie under production and entitled “The Southern Cross.” The first-ever joint Australia-Japan feature film collaboration would eventually come out later in 1982 with the new English title of The Highest Honor (it would remain under its original title in Japanese). That movie was quickly forgotten, but it is notable for being the debut movie of Hitomi Kuroki, still one of Japan’s most successful actresses to this day.

日本が世界ヒットの引き金となった「Mad Max」のゲームが豪訛りを拒否し、オージーゲーマーが噴火

MaxStillI 日本と深い関わり合いがあるオーストラリア現代文化に根強く愛されている「マッド・マックス」映画シリーズのゲーム版最新商品が豪訛りのマックスが登場しないことによって多くのオーストラリア人の間で怒りを感じさせている、とNews.com.auが報道している。
MadMaxLogo 「マッド・マックス」の影響は、オーストラリアにとって偉大なものだ。
MadMaxGame 4作目の公開に伴って新しいビデオ・ゲームが公開することになっている。

Mad Max video game ditches Australian accent in ‘affront’ to the country

Mad Max I Trailer

Mad Max II Trailer

Mad Max III Trailer

Mad Max Video Game Trailer


The Sapphires

The Sapphires

Just as Japanese cinema was globally renowned in the 1950s only to subsequently fall into decline, Australian movies lauded across the world in the 1970s and 1980s can now no longer make much of an impact outside of their homeland.

Unlike the domestic Japanese market, however, which is of a scale large enough to support its own industry, the Australian domestic movie business is tiny. This ensures that short of making a hit of the likes of the initial Crocodile Dundee series entries, the Mad Max series or something akin to Happy Feet or Moulin Rouge, a general release Australian movie is almost destined to be more of a charitable enterprise than a business.
This applies even for movies rated highly domestically and overseas.
This year has seen a move that proves to be a case in point.
We’re referring to The Sapphires.

The movie based on a true story about a band referred to as Australia’s version of The Supremes is said to be an Australian-style Dreamgirls and was awarded and highly rated when shown at international festivals such as Cannes and, rare for an Aussie movie these days, even sold overseas.
The movie featured Jessica Mauboy, one of Australia’s best-known indigenous singers, as part of a tremendous cast who worked to tell the fascinating tale of a group of indigenous women plucked from a reserve to form a band that became something of an international sensation at a time when it was still common for them to encounter discrimination in their homeland still deeply influenced by the White Australia Policy, the Stolen Generations and other aspects of its racist past.

But, The Sapphires flopped at the box office internationally, starting with failures in its first overseas markets in France and Britain.
And it’s not even planned for release in Japan.