'Mt Zion' Tops the New Zealand Box Office
The indigenous family feature, starring "Australian Idol" winner Stan Walker, grossed more on its opening day than the biggest New Zealand film of all time, “Boy”.
SYDNEY -- New Zealand independent feature Mt Zion, has opened near the top of the all-time box office list for a domestic film, taking NZ$200,007 ($164,765) at number one on Tuesday in its home territory, the New Zealand Film Commission said Thursday.
Released on Waitangi Day, a national holiday, Mt Zion stars Maori singer Stan Walker -- the winner of the final season of Australian Idol -- in a family-oriented feature telling the story of a man named Turei and his relatives, hard-working potato farm contractors in rural Pukekohe. A talented musician, Turei dreams of his band, Small Axe, being the support act for Bob Marley’s 1979 tour. But it’s a dream that challenges the traditions and values of his traditional upbringing and sets him at odds with his family.
Co-incidentally Waitangi Day, Feb. 6, is Bob Marley’s birthday.
Andrew Cornwell, general manager of the film’s local distributor, Sony Pictures New Zealand, said: “This is a fantastic result. It’s almost double the opening day of the biggest hit New Zealand movie, Boy, and second only to Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business [for top] opening. Congratulations to the filmmakers on this early success.”
“I applaud the whole team behind Mt Zion,” added New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Graeme Mason. “From writer-director Tearapa Kahi, producer Quinton Hita and executive producer Christina Milligan to every member of the cast, crew, production, post-production and distribution team -- this is a brilliant recognition of their talent and hard work.”
The film also features Temuera Morrison, Miriama Smith, Troy Kingi, David Wikaira-Paul and Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson.
Mt Zion is a Small Axe Films production made in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air, Māori Television and Te Māngai Pāho. NZ Film is handling international sales.