Paper Planes (film)

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Paper Planes
Australian theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Connolly
Produced byRobert Connolly
Liz Kearney
Maggie Miles
Written byRobert Connolly
Steve Worland
StarringSam Worthington
David Wenham
Ed Oxenbould
Deborah Mailman
Music byNigel Westlake
CinematographyTristan Milani
Edited byNick Meyers
Distributed byRoadshow Films
Release date
  • 15 January 2015 (2015-01-15) (Australia)
Running time
96 minutes
Box officeA$9.61 million[1]

Paper Planes is a 2015 Australian 3D children's drama film directed by Robert Connolly, which he co-wrote with Steve Worland and co-produced with Liz Kearney and Maggie Miles. The film stars Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Deborah Mailman, and Ed Oxenbould. The film tells a story about Dylan, a young boy who lives in Australia, who finds out that he has a talent for making paper planes and dreams of competing in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan.[2]

It opened in Australian cinemas on 15 January 2015 on 253 screens by Roadshow Films. It grossed A$9.61 million at the Australian box office by the end of its run. The story is loosely inspired by an episode of Australian Story called "Fly With Me",[3] and was the centre of a second episode, "The Meaning of Life". Paper Planes was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 June 2015 by Roadshow Entertainment.



On 9 November 2013, filming had begun in Perth in Western Australia and in Tokyo with Robert Connolly directing.[4] Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Julian Dennison, and Ed Oxenbould star in the film.[5]

Principal photography took place in both country and metro Western Australia, though the film states the setting as being in New South Wales (given they "drive down to Sydney"). Locations used for filming include an abandoned school in Roleystone, an old house in Baldivis, Challenge Stadium, Whiteman Park, the Perth Zoo, and the Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek.


Paper Planes was released in theaters throughout Australia on 15 January 2015, and on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 June 2015 by Roadshow Entertainment.

Critical response and box office[edit]

This film currently holds an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews. By the end of its run, it had grossed A$9.61 million at the Australian box office.[6] Simon Weaving of Screenwize called the film, "a wholesome, feel-good tale of a primary school underdog who dreams of getting to the world paper plane championships in Japan." Jim Schembri of 3AW wrote in his review, "In one of the great career gear shifts in recent memory, Melbourne director Robert Connolly, who gave us such searing dramas as The Bank, Three Dollars, and Balibo, delivers an adorable family film that is uplifting, warm, winning, and most of all, funny." Fiona Williams of says, "there's a lot to like in Paper Planes' ideas about ingenuity and resilience, and that may bode well for getting bums off the beach and onto seats in the film's late summer school holiday release period."

While the film performed strongly at the box office domestically in Australia, it was less successful in its international debut (U.K./Ireland,) opening at number 47 and earning £4,381 in its opening weekend (23–25 October 2015.)[7] The film was released in Spain on 1 January 2016 (the film's only European theatrical release as of February 2016) and opened at number 29 with a gross of US$7,577 from 21 screens, for a per-theater average of $361.[8]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
Best Film Liz Kearney Nominated
Maggie Miles Nominated
Robert Connolly Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Lost
Steve Worland Won
Best Supporting Actress Deborah Mailman Nominated
Best Original Music Score Nigel Westlake Nominated
Best Sound James Ashton Nominated
Emma Bortignon Nominated
Chris Goodes Nominated
Trevor Hope Nominated
People's Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film Liz Kearney Nominated
Maggie Miles Nominated
Robert Connolly Nominated
Australian Directors Guild Award Best Direction in a Feature Film Nominated
AWGIE Award Best Writing in a Feature Film - Original Nominated
Steve Worland Nominated
ASE Award Best Editing in a Feature Film Nick Meyers Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Generation Kplus - Crystal Bear for Best Film Robert Connolly Nominated
Jerusalem Film Festival Young Critics Club Award for Best Children's Film Won
Seattle International Film Festival Youth Jury Award Nominated


  • "Paper Planes"
  • "Beauty in the World"
  • "Ready to Launch"
  • "Flight Research"
  • "My Journey Starts Here"
  • "Dog Fight"
  • "A Bird That Cannot Fly"
  • "Pavane"
  • "Take Your Positions"
  • "Do Emus Dream of Flying?"
  • "The Final Challenge"
  • "Is There a Movie on This Flight?"
  • "Tokyo by Night"
  • "The Competition"
  • "For as Long as it Takes"
  • "Learn to Live"


Steve Worland, who co-wrote Paper Planes, novelised the screenplay into a best-selling book for young readers. It was published on 2 January 2015 through Puffin Books. It includes directions on how to fold a paper plane, photographs from the film, and notes about the production.


  1. ^ "Paper Planes". Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Paper Planes - Penguin Books Australia". Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Australian Story :: Paper Planes". Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d McNary, Dave (9 November 2013). "Sam Worthington, David Wenham Flying in 'Paper Planes'". Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  5. ^ Franklin, Garth (12 November 2013). "Worthington, Lapaglia Throw "Paper Planes"". Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Paper Planes". 22 January 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Weekend box office figures". Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Spain Box Office, January 1–3, 2016". Retrieved 16 October 2016.

External links[edit]