Movie sales took a hit during the Rugby World Cup and after Christchurch's February earthquake last year.

The Motion Picture Distributors' Association of New Zealand has released the box office figures comparing the 2010 and 2011 years, totalling weekly figures of movie admission sales.

Last year's box office figures finished at $161.8 million, a nine per cent drop on 2010's record breaking year of $176.5 million in sales.

Pottermania gripped many as people flocked to see the most popular film of last year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The film grossed over $7.8 million.


The highest grossing Kiwi film, Billy T: The Movie, collected $771,000. It was closely followed by The Orator, with takings of $744,000.

Association president Robert Crockett said movie sales dipped around the time of two major events.

"It's been a challenging year with many factors outside the control of the industry; specifically the devastating earthquake in Christchurch in February and the impact of the Rugby World Cup in September to October which, understandably, saw a drop in admissions during this outstanding event."

He said sales dropped about 15 per cent almost instantly after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake on February 22 last year.

"Christchurch was obviously unfortunately instantaneous, because of the magnitude of the event and the physical loss of cinemas and screen space."

Movie ticket sales had been slowly building up since February, he said.

Box office figures also dipped on single days during the Rugby World Cup period, spanning from September to October, he said.

"There were days when New Zealand just watched the All Blacks play, which of course was perfectly understandable. So there were days when the box Office was impacted significantly."


Mr Crockett said he could not single out figures for the October 23 final or for different game days.

He said the 3D movie market continued to become more popular, and the number of screens rose from 86 to 141 last year. Individual 3D movie figures were not available, he said.

There were no upward spikes throughout the year, as pricing had been stable, he said.

Mr Crockett said this year moviegoers can look forward to the release of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, as well as international releases such as the third Madagascar film, Snow White and the Huntsman and another film in the Men in Black franchise.

Top 10 films of 2011

FilmGross Box Office

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2$7,940,795

2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon$6,533,483

3. The King's Speech$5,243,395

4. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1$4,396,151

5. Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides$4,213,269

6. The Hangover Part II$3,752,023

7. Kung Fu Panda 2$3,750,805

8. Fast and Furious 5$3,718,543

9. Bridesmaids$3,579,609

10. Cars 2$3,539,994