Mt Zion tops New Zealand box office

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(Hollywood Reporter) 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 Marleys 1979 tour. But its 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 Marleys birthday.’

Andrew Cornwell, general manager of the films local distributor, Sony Pictures New Zealand, said: This is a fantastic result. Its almost double the opening day of the biggest hit New Zealand movie, Boy, and second only to Siones 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, Maori Television and Te Mangai Paho. NZ Film is handling international sales.

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