I Haven’t Thought About Baz Luhrmann’s Australia Since It Originally Flopped, But His Wild Plans For A Re-Release Have Me Very Curious

Hugh Jackman in Australia

Do you remember when Baz Luhrmann had Cowboy Hugh Jackman head for the outback in Australia? This epic adventure drama was a huge letdown at the box office when it entered theaters in 2008. Thats all the more reason why The Great Gatsby director’s wild plans to re-release the movie as a miniseries have me very curious.

To refresh your memory on this particular Baz Luhrmann flick,the Australia trailer showed Nicole Kidman playing Lady Sarah Ashley, who traveled to The Land Down Under to run a cattle ranch she inherited and worked with a cattle driver, played by Hugh Jackman, to transport her cattle across the outback after the land is threatened. According to Courier Mail, Australia surprised box office analysts when it only grossed $20 million for its weekend opening and trailed behind Quantum of Solace, Twilight, Bolt and Four Christmases. 

If the Baz Luhrmann movie didn’t have good luck at the box office, I’m curious why the Australian filmmaker thinks re-releasing his movie as a miniseries will make audiences appreciate Australia more.

When the Re-Release of Australia Was First Announced

Back in June 2022, GamesRadar reported that Australia would get a small screen re-release that’s cut into a six-part miniseries. According to Collider, the Hulu series will be called Faraway Downs, which will have an alternative ending from the movie. Baz Luhmann explained in a statement why he thought a miniseries of his beloved movie was a good idea.

While Australia the film has its own life, there was another telling of this story; one with different layers, nuances and even alternative plot twists that an episodic format has allowed us to explore. Drawn from the same material, Faraway Downs is a new variation on Australia for audiences to discover.

It appears that Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich has faith in this new miniseries. He expressed that it was a “unique adventure” to experience Australia in a new, episodic format, and he’s looking forward to audiences taking in what he did. Even though Australia‘s original runtime came in at two hours and 45 minutes, evidently there’s still more to the story that Baz Luhrmann wasn’t able to show on screen.

I’m Curious Why Baz Luhrmann Thinks a Re-Release of Australia is Necessary Right Now

Australia may be thought of as one of the best Hugh Jackman movies, but it’s honestly been a film I haven’t thought about since it was first released in 2008. That’s not because I thought it was a bad movie, but just one of Baz Luhrmann’s I didn’t think had a profound effect on me. That’s why it makes me wonder why the filmmaker thinks it’s a good idea to re-release Australia as Faraway Downs. I was puzzled when I first heard of the news of the re-release because I originally didn’t know if Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman were coming back to recreate their iconic roles from the movie, but they’re not. It’s just the original movie the public originally saw, but with extended footage to follow.

Could this be Baz Luhrmann’s way of saying that he thought Australia would have had a better reception if he could tell the story the way he wanted to with all of the footage he created? In a new interview reported by Variety, the Moulin Rouge director explained his motivation for Faraway Downs.

I was inspired to re-approach my film ‘Australia’ to create ‘Faraway Downs’ because of the way episodic storytelling has been reinvigorated by the streaming world. With over two million feet of film from the original piece, my team and I were able to revisit anew the central themes of the work.

It’s true that a series can develop characters and the world they live in better than movies that have fixed runtimes. It brings me back to when Freeform would re-release the Harry Potter movies with the deleted scenes included. Thrown in commercials too, and the fantasy franchise would be a whole lot longer to watch. On the other hand, you would get insight into the characters that you weren’t able to see on the first take, like a Deathly Hallows deleted scene of Petunia showing a bit of grief towards losing her sister. So it’s possible for Baz Luhrmann that the re-release of Australia can be his second chance to have viewers see his movie the way he always wanted them to see it.

With the box office flop Australia being re-released as a miniseries, I’m curious if audiences will fare well with the story in episodic form compared to when it was a single movie. I also wonder that if this new miniseries becomes a success, could this be the future of long movies now? Will Titanic be in the mix next, or maybe even Gone with the Wind? We’ll have to wait and see once Faraway Downs premieres at the SXSW Sydney Screen Festival on October 21st. Australia is currently available on your Hulu subscription if you need to refresh before all six episodes of the re-release premiere on the same streaming platform on November 26th.


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