By the mid-1930s the major Hollywood studios had developed extensive networks of distribution subsidiaries across five continents. This article focuses on the operation of American film distributors in Australia – one of Hollywood's largest foreign markets. Drawing on two unique primary datasets, the article compares and investigates film distribution in Sydney's first-run and suburban-run markets. It finds that the subsidiaries of US film companies faced a greater liability of foreignness in the city centre market than in the suburban one. Our data support the argument that film audiences in local or suburban cinema markets were more receptive to Hollywood entertainment than those in metropolitan centres.