MENTAL‘Mental’ was released on the 16th November in the UK and made £20,000. It was also released in Ireland on the same date. It was released to Australian cinemas on the 4th October and made $4,065,068. It was released in New Zealand on the 25th October 2012. It will be released in the US on the 29 th March, 2013.
IDEAThe idea came from P.J. Hogan, who was the writer and director of the film. He decided to make a comedy-drama inspired by a breakdown his mother experienced when he was 12 and while his mother was experiencing this breakdown he was helped to be taken care of by a nanny, which helped inspire the plot of the film. It was completely P.J. Hogan’s original idea, and was not based on any book of TV show that had existed beforehand.
PRODUCTION COMPANIESThe films production companies, as well as its financial backers were Screen Australia, Story Bridge Films and Zucker Productions. The lead production company, Screen Australia has been the financial backer for many films since the early 2000s, none of the films have been extreme worldwide successes but it has had a good enough track record in Australia to continue producing many films for over 10 years. Screen Australia suited Mental because it hasn’t been an extremely successful film so it is what is expected of Screen Australia.
WORKING WITH EACH OTHERP.J. Hogan and the one of the lead characters (Shaz) played by Toni Collette had worked together previously on a film (Muriel’s Wedding) so they knew the skills they both had and it would have been easy because they know what is expected and Collette would have understood what Hogan was like as a director and what he expected. One of the lead actors, Rebecca Gibney also spoke about good P.J. Hogan was very good with working with children. And P.J. Hogan said about how good the adult actors were working with children, so there seemed to be no tensions on set. Hogan also complimented actors in the film and in an interview and said he is friends with Toni Collette. The lead character played by Liev Schreiber. And P.J. Hogan spoke about his eagerness to do the film but it was however hard because it was a small part compared to his other films as well as the fact that he would have to master the Australian accent, but it worked in the end.
LOCATIONThe film was shot in Mt. Warning National Park, Murwillumbah (New South Wales), Coolangatta (Queensland), Gold Coast (Queensland) and Tweed Heads (New South Wales) (all in Australia). Australia seen as the majority of the cast was Australian, it would have made it easy. As well as the film mainly being targeted at Australian people because of PJ. Hogan’s previous work with an Australian film (Muriel’s Wedding).
BUDGET‘Mental’ clearly did not have a very high budget, and it is unlikely to spend a lot on budget. This is because finance going into the promotion part of the production lacked. Not a lot of money was put into it as it only made £20,407 in the UK and was only shown for a week. There were not advertising posters or TV adverts shown a lot for the film, showing that it did not have a high promotion budget. The lack of awards the film has been nominated for and the negative reviews also emphasise how it was not a successful film.
PROMOTION AND PREMIEREAn advert was created for the film to be aired on TV, this would have majorly helped the film go viral. Also, there were posters used to help get the name across. The film premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival, which would have given it more promotion rather than it just being premiered into regular cinemas. There was nothing like merchandise being advertised, which is one of the reasons it underperformed, with or without merchandise, it seemed that there was not enough money put into the promotion.
DISTRIBUTIONFor Australia, the US and the UK, ‘Mental’ was released to cinemas and distributed by Universal Pictures International. For New Zealand, it was distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was a major film release in Australia because of P.J. Hogan’s and Toni Collette’s previous work together on ‘Muriel’s Wedding’, so there was a buzz for the new film release. Particularly amongst the Australian audience as ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ has so far grossed $57,000,000 worldwide.
REVIEWS‘Mental’ received mixed reviews from critics, it scored 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sky Movies called it ‘splendidly enjoyable’ and Urban Cinefile complimented Collette’s role, calling her ‘committed’. However, Urban Cinefile said that certain parts of the film were taken too far, and said it ‘lessened’ the humour and that ‘Hogan makes his point too obviously’. Another review comes from An Online Universe who called it ‘painfully unfunny’.
BOX OFFICEThere was a buzz in Australia after P.J. Hogan and Toni Collette reunited again after their last hit film Muriel’s Wedding, $4,065,068 in Australia. However, it has not done well in other countries due to lack of promotion it only grossed £20,407 in the UK.