Rain brings box office bonanza

Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014

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Rainstorms may have put a dampener on Christmas celebrations but they've proved a box office bonanza for New Zealand cinemas.

Box office takings were 26 per cent higher over the Christmas weekend than the year before as Kiwis flocked to the movies to escape the rain.

Cinemas sold $4.3 million worth of tickets from December 26 to 29 last year, compared to $3.5m for the same period a year earlier.

Films like the Hobbit sequel, animated Disney film Frozen and drama Philomena drew the crowds.

Hoyts spokesman Matthew Garelli said the cinema chain was trading about 6 per cent higher than the same period the year before.

"It has been pretty solid," he said.

"The weather has been a big contributing factor this year. The good weather last summer hit us really hard," he said.

"We had more variety in our films this year as well. The broader film mix and the rainy weather were good for us."

Reading Cinemas managing director Wayne Smith said New Zealand box office figures for December were about 9 per cent higher than the year before.

"The rain can have a significant impact. If the weather is not conducive to outdoors activity, people will be attracted to shopping centres," he said.

"But the films need to be good as well. People will not waste their time watching rubbish.

Smith said the mix of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Anchorman 2, the new Hobbit film, Frozen and Philomena had attracted a strong audience.

But Smith said the new Hobbit film was not performing as well as the first film in the trilogy.

The 2012 Hobbit film made $6m in New Zealand during its first two weeks of release, while the sequel has made just $4.8m in its first two weeks.

"It has not done as well as the first one, but it has only been out a couple of weeks," said Smith.

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- The Press

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