Ride Like a Girl storms home at the box office
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne is back in the winner's circle as her biopic Ride Like a Girl became the highest grossing Australian film of the year to date.
The feel-good racing story has now taken $5.3 million in less than two weeks of release, overtaking the entire cinema runs of indigenous rom-com Top End Wedding on $5.1m and drama Storm Boy on $5.23m.
Ride Like a Girl, which stars Teresa Palmer as the first woman to win the race that stops the nation, was the feature debut as director for Rachel Griffiths and she said she always set out to make a movie that audiences would embrace.
And she hoped audiences would ignore some lukewarm reviews to send the underdog tale of the 100-1 winner of the 2015 Cup to the top.
"I'm so thrilled," Griffiths said of the movie becoming the year's biggest local release.
"I said if it wouldn't be, then I had f--ked up, basically.
"Not to blow my own trumpet but because I knew there was an audience for the story.
"I knew the story was that big that if I didn't hit a big number and we weren't out of the gate the way we were then, then I had failed.
"So it's very heartening."
Oscar-nominated actor Griffiths, who returns to the small screen on Sunday with the ABC political drama Total Control, said she had been inundated with messages of support on social media, including from one from a woman whose grandfather's dying wish was to see the film.
"I made it for the people and it's not a 'fillum', it's a movie and designed to take everything that was wonderful about that story and repeat it but hopefully with more," she said.
"The feedback on social is extraordinary with so many woman saying they were so proud to take their boys or their daughters.
"I'm getting lots of concerned texts from parents saying 'great - my daughter wants to be a jockey'."