The film was released in Australian cinemas on 30 April 1986, and became an immediate success, with the film then conquering the international market after it was released in America on 26 September 1986.
Made for just over AUD$8 million, the film went on to gross some AUD$400 million globally.
Crocodile Dundee showcased some of Kakadu’s most spectacular landscapes including Ubirr, Nourlangie and Gunlom, along with the region’s Aboriginal culture and the rich wildlife, particularly its saltwater crocodiles.
Kakadu was also chosen by Paul Hogan (who played Crocodile Dundee and wrote the script) for the Australian sequences in Crocodile Dundee II.
For Kakadu, a fledgling tourism industry was supercharged overnight, with the ‘crocodile’ as the central attraction, whether it be in accommodation – such as the famous Crocodile Hotel – or tours, with nearby Yellow Water Billabong established as one of the most popular locations for cruises to catch sight of crocodiles in their natural habitat. In 2007, Yellow Water was to star in its own right as the setting for the croc-horror film, Rogue.
Kakadu Tourism is anticipating that the focus of the film will significantly boost international and domestic tourism to Kakadu in the year ahead, with the first quarter of 2016 already seeing the best results in five years.
To commemorate the anniversary, the first Kakadu Discovery Month was held throughout April, offering visitors a chance to explore some of the sites made famous by Crocodile Dundee.
Kakadu Tourism, Chair, Rick Allert, said that conditions were perfect a major revival in tourism to Kakadu.
“A relatively dry ‘wet’ season has meant that most of the Park’s attractions will be open from May, which is about a month earlier than usual,” said Allert.
“We also have the advantage of Kakadu’s most popular gateway city – Darwin – being far more accessible in terms of accommodation. For the past three years there have been few rooms and high prices during the peak season because of major resources projects, but these are now virtually at an end and there is far more accommodation available.
“We are also adding ‘flash-camping’ accommodation at Cooinda Lodge, we’ve been upgrading facilities at the Crocodile Hotel, and there is a vast range of touring options being offered by Yellow Water Cruises and Spirit of Kakadu 4WD Adventure tours. Parks Australia is also offering free ranger activities throughout the peak season.
“Crocodile Dundee had an incredibly powerful impact on the destination. The Paul Hogan character and the stunning landscapes of Kakadu combined to present a powerful image that had rarely been seen before on the screen.
“In the 30 years since Crocodile Dundee was released, tourism infrastructure such as roads, accommodation and tour programmes have made visiting Kakadu much easier, but what hasn’t changed is the unique landscape and Indigenous character of the region. It is still one of the most remarkable and beautiful attractions in Australia,” he said.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said that Crocodile Dundee and the Paul Hogan campaign that immediately preceded the movie had played an instrumental part in putting Australia on the radar of American holiday makers.
“The Crocodile Dundee movies were hugely successful and the scenes filmed in Australia provided wonderful exposure for our country’s raw nature and warm and welcoming people, embodied by Paul Hogan as the likeable larrikin Mick Dundee,” he said.
“It’s still hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since that first Crocodile Dundee film started breaking box office records. The actors may have aged, the fashions may be a little dated but the spectacular scenery of the Northern Territory and rugged Kakadu landscapes have certainly not lost any of their magic appeal.”
O’Sullivan said that the interest in the film’s 30 year anniversary was great for tourism, and would hopefully inspire a whole new generation of American Crocodile Dundee fans to head Down Under.