'Hotel Mumbai' Pulled From Cinemas in New Zealand After Terrorist Attack

Hotel Mumbai Still 2- TIFF Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of TIFF

Icon, the distributor, said it suspended the release of the terrorism thriller, which stars Dev Patel and deals with the 2008 Mumbai attack, following the Christchurch mass shootings.

The New Zealand release of terrorism thriller Hotel Mumbai has been suspended after the mass shootings in Christchurch. 

The film, which stars Dev Patel and deals with the terrorist attacks on Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 2008, in which 174 people died, was released in Australia and New Zealand last Thursday. On Friday, an armed gunman massacred 50 people and injured many more at two Christchurch mosques. 

Hotel Mumbai, which earned critical praise after premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, was pulled in New Zealand by its local distributor, Icon Films. 

The film was the second-ranked film at the Australian and NZ box offices this past weekend (behind Captain Marvel) with takings of AUS$1.1 million ($780,000) including previews and NZ$120,000 ($82,000), respectively. In Australia the film played on 238 screens. Films open on Thursdays in Australia and New Zealand, and Hotel Mumbai, an Australian production, had been heavily promoted in the weeks leading up to its release. 

Icon elected to pull the film from theaters in New Zealand on Monday, and pundits here say in Australia, where it continues to play, its box office potential has likely been damaged by the Christchurch attack, given its subject matter. 

Icon said it had suspended the release of Hotel Mumbai until March 28 in New Zealand after several exhibitors cancelled screenings over the weekend.

"Following the recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, Icon Film Distribution have announced the suspension of the film Hotel Mumbai from all cinemas in New Zealand," the company said in a statement. "Upon hearing about the attacks on Friday, Icon Film Distribution immediately suspended all advertising for the film in New Zealand. After consultation with local exhibition partners, the decision was made to suspend the film out of respect for a country in mourning."

March 19, 10:30 a.m.: Corrected to reflect that while the film has been pulled in New Zealand, it continues to play in Australia.