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Got two bucks for a movie ticket?

Newspapers and PR reports were all aflutter last week with the news that Boy, written and directed by Taika Waititi, is now the “number one New Zealand film of all time”, overtaking The World’s Fastest Indian (TWFI) with a lifetime box office of over $7,050,000 in the eight weeks since its release on March 25.  But are we comparing apples with apples?

Released in 2005, TWFI took 46 weeks to reach the same level.

However, the New Zealand Film Commission admits the lifetime box office number is not adjusted for the inflation of movie ticket prices – not to mention population growth – and simply reflects the total receipts the distributor receives. With the cost of a movie ticket at Sky City Queen St now at $15.50, plus numerous multiplexes showing films all times of the day and night, a film released today will reach monetary milestones much quicker than those made back when the moonwalk wasn’t ironic.

Perhaps a ‘bums on seats’ rating might be a more representative way of finding New Zealand’s number one film. In 1987, when New Zealand’s 7th highest grossing film Footrot Flats was released, 15 bucks would have likely taken the whole family to the movies.

Still, accounting quibbles aside, Boy’s success makes a refreshing change from the Avatarisation of the cinema.

Boy’s makers expect to add a further $1 million to the box office total by the end of its cinema run.

Meanwhile, the film’s theme tune, Poi E, the 1984 hit song by the Patea Maori Club, is making a fresh assault on the New Zealand charts, driven by a new Waititi-directed music video and online campaigns through Facebook and Twitter to push the song to number one. Entering the charts at number 20 earlier this month, the song is now sitting at number whitu .

THE TOP 10 NZ FILMS

1. $7,050,000 – Boy (2010).
2. $7,047,000 – The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)
3. $6,795,000 – Once Were Warriors (1994)
4. $6,400,000 – Whale Rider (2002).
5. $4,075,000 – Sione’s Wedding (2006).
6. $3,200,991 – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted (1999).
7. $2,420,000 – Footrot Flats (1987).
8. $1,642,508 – Second-Hand Wedding (2008).
9. $1,600,000 – Goodbye Pork Pie (1981).
10. $1,506,195 – In My Father’s Den (2004).

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