The Way, My Way: film hits $2m at Australian and NZ box office

Bill Bennett's Camino story starring Chris Haywood is the surprise box office hit of the year so far.
The Way My Way

A modest film about an older man’s pilgrimage along the Camino Trail in northern Spain could hardly have been predicted to be the surprise Australian hit of the year, but Bill Bennett’s The Way, My Way has now surpassed $2 million at the Australian and New Zealand Box Office. 

The film’s distributor, Maslow Entertainment, has announced that, although The Way, My Way opened in cinemas on the 16 May, entering its seventh week in cinemas, it continues with consistently strong box office results and is currently the third highest grossing Australian film of 2024, behind Furiosa and Force of Nature: The Dry.

(For comparison, in 2023, only three other Australian films grossed more than the $1 million: Talk to MeBlueback and John Farnham: Finding The Voice.)

Read: Best Films of 2024 – as decided by our critics

Based on the writer-director Bill Bennett’s 2013 memoir about walking the 800km trail as a wonky-kneed non-believer, The Way, My Way stars iconic Aussie actor Chris Haywood in the Bennett role, alongside actors Jennifer Cluff, Pia Thunderbolt and Laura Lakshmi. The supporting cast also includes pilgrims Bennett actually trekked with.

As per the synopsis: ‘It tells the true story of a stubborn, self-centered Australian man who decides to walk the famed 800-kilometre-long Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route through Spain, and the people he meets along the way that change his life forever, one step at a time.’

Around six million people a year walk at least some of the Camino de Santiago, the network of paths that lead to the tomb of St James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in the northwest of Spain, and for believers and non-believers alike, it has become a spiritual experience as well as a tourist destination.

The older demographic who lean towards the Camino have also leant towards going out to the actual cinema to see this small Australian film by Bennett, the director whose long career includes 15 other features, among them Kiss or Kill, In a Savage Land and The Nugget.

The fact that writer-director Bennett and actor-producer Jennifer Cluff have accompanied the film around the country for Q&A event screenings at small independent cinemas has obviously helped to build the word of mouth.

In the Maslow media release, Bennett said: ‘This film is extremely personal to me and so seeing how it has connected with audiences in such a deep and meaningful way is obviously extremely gratifying. Jennifer and I have especially loved our Q&A tour of Australia and meeting fellow movie lovers in some of the best cinemas in the country. The whole experience has been quite magical.’

Marc Wooldridge, Managing Director for Maslow Entertainment said: ‘Bill has brilliantly brought his Camino experience to the big screen, and it will remain exclusively available in cinemas for many more weeks to come.  We’re delighted for all involved and invite people to come back and see it again or experience it for the first time.’

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk