Kiwi Hunt for the Wilderpeople beats Batman v Superman

PIKI FILMS/YouTube

Taika Waititi's film Hunt for the Wilderpeople debuted at Sundance Film Festival.

Caped crusaders and flying superheroes are no match for a good keen man.

Kiwi movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople has beaten superhero blockbuster Batman V Superman at the New Zealand box office, despite being released a week later.

Batman V Superman started strong with a $2.4 million opening weekend, but tailed off fast, while Hunt for the Wilderpeople has been at number one since it was released three weeks ago.

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill star in Taika Waititi's film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
KANE SKENNAR

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill star in Taika Waititi's film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

As of Wednesday evening, Batman V Superman had grossed $4.7 million, while Wilderpeople had made $5.5 million at the Kiwi box office.

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Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Comic-Con Trailer

 

The success comes despite Batman V Superman having a production budget of NZ$354 million, compared to just $3 million for Wilderpeople.

The figures mean Wilderpeople, which is adapted from a Barry Crump novel, is now the fifth highest grossing Kiwi film of all time.

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Batman vs Superman.
N/A

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Batman vs Superman.

Mark Chamberlain, theatrical sales manager for co-distributor Madman NZ, said the film was doing so well because it had broad appeal.

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"It definitely has legs. It has been number one across three weekends. With most blockbusters it will fall off, but this film has grown and that is the power of good word of mouth," he said.

"The film has reached out to all New Zealanders right across the board. It has brought out people that haven't been to the cinema for quite some time."

"This is quite rare. It is performing well in multiplexes and upmarket arthouse cinemas as well."

Producer and co-distributor Carthew Neal said it was "crazy" that Wilderpeople was beating Superman at the box office.

"That is good, because it was an awful movie, wasn't it?" he said.

"We are just happy that Kiwis are choosing to see a Kiwi film. Every Kiwi film that is a success builds confidence in other Kiwi films."

He said the film was a hit because of its approach to Kiwi humour.

"The film celebrates our past and our present. It has the essence of Barry Crump's good keen man and Taika Waititi's take on New Zealand humour now. The celebration of those things has struck a chord."

But it is unclear if the film will beat Boy's record-breaking performance. Boy is the highest grossing Kiwi film of all time, making $9.3 million over an epic 26 week release in 2010.

"I would like to think it is up there with Boy. I think we will see the film's longevity once the school holidays are finished," said Chamberlain.

"Boy was an unknown quantity, no one knew it would reach those heights. With Wilderpeople the awareness was out there straight away."

Neal said it was up to Kiwi audiences to see if Wilderpeople would break the record.

"Boy was a runaway success so we just don't know. The people will decide."

 - Stuff

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