'Mt Zion' takes lion's share at box office

By Kristin Macfarlane

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If you wanted to see Kiwi drama Mt Zion on opening day, you would have needed to get your tickets pretty quick.

The new New Zealand movie, Mt Zion, had a very strong opening on Wednesday, taking $200,707 at the national box office and coming in at No 1 for the day.

In Rotorua, it was no different.

Mt Zion stars Rotorua's Temuera Morrison and Darcey-Ray Flavell-Hudson as well as Kiwi singer Stan Walker, David Wikaira-Paul and Troy Kingi.

At Rotorua's Reading Cinemas all four sessions of Mt Zion - released on Waitangi Day and coinciding with Bob Marley's birthday - were sold out on opening day.

Reading Cinemas complex manager Adam Morrison said many of the tickets for the movie had been sold the day before with the remainder sold by 10.30am that day.

Mr Morrison said many people came in on the morning on the release day wanting to see the film that morning but the sessions were sold out by then.

Those people then bought tickets to see the later screenings, he said.

"Every screening sold out," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said at each screening up to 115 people would have been watching the film. One of those attending one of the evening screenings was a star of the show, Darcey-Ray, Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said traditionally, big blockbuster films and Kiwi movies did well. However, with many family members of Darcey-Ray and Temuera Morrison in the city he believed a lot of friends and family would be supporting Mt Zion.

"New Zealand movies tend to have a really good response.

"I did expect it to be busy but didn't expect it to be sold out as fast as it did."

Mr Morrison expected the interest in the film to continue and was expecting it to be sold out last night. He said anyone wanting to see the movie should get their tickets fast.

Sony Pictures New Zealand general manager Andrew Cornwell said the success of the film was a fantastic result.

"It's almost double the opening day of the biggest hit NZ movie, Boy, and second only to Sione's 2: Unfinished Business opening. Congratulations to the filmmakers on this early success."

Mt Zion is a family-oriented story in which Walker's character, Turei, and his family are 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 upbringing and will set him at odds with his family - particularly his father (Morrison).

- Rotorua Daily Post

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