'Thor: Ragnarok' Director Proves to Be Box-Office Gold in His Native New Zealand

Courtesy of Sundance Institute
'The Hunt for the Wilderpeople'

Taika Waititi's 'Boy' and 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' are now the country's top-grossing local films of all time.

Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi rules the box office in his homeland of New Zealand.

Two of Waititi’s films are now the top New Zealand films at the country's box office of all time, after his latest outing, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, edged out The World’s Fastest Indian (2005) for the No. 2 spot with revenue of NZ$7.3 million ($5.2 million), according to figures released by the New Zealand Film Commission.

Waititi’s 2010 hit Boy is the country's highest-grossing homegrown release ever with $6.5 million, while his 2014 horror spoof What We Do in the Shadows holds the seventh spot with a gross of $1.8 million.

When told of the achievement, Waititi said, “I would like to say it’s a lifelong dream come true and now I feel complete, but to be honest, I won’t be happy until I have all three top spots.”

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, began its record-breaking run by notching the biggest opening-weekend gross for a New Zealand film ever with $878,000 in its first four days after its release on March 31. The film then went on to break previous opening-week records, bringing in $1.2 million in its first seven days.

The comedy recounts the story of misfit kid Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle (Sam Neill) in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together to survive.

The Orchard acquired Hunt for the Wilderpeople for the U.S. at Sundance this year for a reported $2 million. It will get a national release on June 24.   

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