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Production

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* Dundee as a "hybrid" of information (the real Paul Hogan's media personality and identification with Australia and the Australian) * Crocodile Dundee combined recognisably different dramatic forms: "the fish out of water" comedy with a 'populist' address * Crocodile Dundee was marketed in Australia as a blockbuster. Before the 10BA Tax Incentives blockbuster production was severely handicapped by lack of funds and publicity infrastructure. 10BA made both possible. Several general points about Crocodile Dundee as a blockbuster film are worth making to begin with. As a product of the tendency for box office revenues to concentrate in a handful of films in any one year, this blockbuster phenomenon (like The Godfather (1974) and Star Wars (1977)) led Hogan and Cornell to try and create a film "event" and to manage it appropriately. They did this in a number of ways. * Both the publicity and the release patterns worked to create the film as an event, as a phenomenon. * This was achieved through a multi-levelled and simultaneous campaign across the media (TV, magazine, radio, newspapers, and advertising) involving appearances, interviews, features articles, stories, and ads relating to Hogan, the film and its other creative talent (Linda Kozlowski, Faiman etc) * Given the double edged provisos of audience and social text it is not surprising that Dundee's producers had their origins in commercial TV. Crocodile Dundee was based on the TV comic and ad personality developed as (by) Paul Hogan in conjunction with "Strop" Cornell (a former straight man to Hogan in the Paul Hogan Show). It was directed by Peter Faiman better known for his work with Hogan, for live TV and music specials. * All the same, as a blockbuster production by 'first time' producers, directors and leads, Crocodile Dundee carried with it its own risks in the Australian context. To cover its budget it needed to become the highest grossing film in Australia in the year it was made. And because of its high budget it was touch and go whether it could be successful in Australia - the only market where its distribution and exhibition were guaranteed. * Hogan, Cornell, Kerry Packer, and many of the crew members put up quite alot of the film's budget (with some reports putting the Hogan/Cornell involvement at close to half of the film's budget - they were staking a sizeable proportion of the money that they had made over the years from TV specials and advertising). * The rest was made up of assorted others including sports personalities such as Deniis Lillee, Greg Chappell and Rod Marsh. * The budget was some $2million oversubscribed.(17) To be sure all concerned reckoned on Crocodile Dundee being international in scope but doing so "on their (Hogan and Cornell's) terms". Such confidence was well placed given the estimated 730% return the film made for its investors. * Dundee was not only avowedly Australian but also American. Dundee sought to position Australian and American audiences on the same filmic and social text continuum - to manage the film from the start, to manage both places, both sites. Crucial to this management was the unique place Paul Hogan had come to occupy on American and British TV by 1985. Hogan's TV specials were not only shown in syndication in the USA and on UK's Channel 4; but through his ads for Fosters and the Australian Tourist Commission he had been established as a household figure.
“Most Americans have limited impressions of Australia - a kind of "tie me kangaroodown sport" level of knowledge. Thanks to TV commercials Americans know about koala bears, Qantas Airlines, Foster's Lager and Paul Hogan.”
“As Peter Faiman put it:
He's (Hogan) probably had a greater marketing test than any potential new star in America, with something like $15million to $20million worth of exposure. The response to him has been enormous.(22)”

* his consistent Australian popularity since the early 1970s on TV * Prior to Dundee Hogan was named 1985 Australian of the year. Opinion polls have consistently found him to be the most admired of Australians achiveing an approval rating far in excess of any politician. * he care taken to cushion the 'difference' of the Australian setting by the use of familiar formats. Thus the American audience, for example, was encouraged to view Hogan as a "rather more witty variant of the Burt Reynolds type", to see Kakadu's wetlands as a substitute backdrop "for the Florida Everglades" and to understand the rowdy pub in terms of "the cracker taverns of the American South-West". * This was part of a careful positioning - initially for investors, distributors/exhibitors and later for audiences who were interested in the "experiment" the film represented. * Cornell admitted as much when he was reported to have said that:
They wanted to make a Disney film without the Disney label, a "feel good" movie without excessive sex, violence, or bad language that would appeal to males and females from 6 to 65. * This is the 'information' bias to Australian cultural production that Hogan clearly has built a career out of from his early 'bit part' appearances in the Mike Willesee hosted program A Current Affair in the early 1970s. Australians are saturated with 'information' rather than 'drama' on themselves and their country. * Produced by the Australian company Rimfire Films, it had a budget of $8.9 million, which was raised by public subscription. At first, the film met with difficulty in attracting investors, but eventually it was taken up by some six hundred investors in blocks of $5000 to $50,000. Hogan, as lead actor, put his own $450,000 actor's fee back in to the production budget. (Lewis, 1987:70) * Crocodile Dundee is a movie full of national symbols, some very beautiful landscapes shot by Russell Boyd, and Australia's king of comedy, Paul Hogan.

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