Buena Vista Internationalhas picked up Australian rights to feel-good New Zealand comedy SamoanWedding (aka Sione's Wedding) andwill release it in mid-July.

Director Chris Graham'sdebut film grossed $2m (NZ$3.14m) for Sony in its first five weeks on homesoil. Putting aside US-funded local blockbusters such as the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and King Kong, this result means it hasalready earned a place in the list of top five local hits of all time.

"We are really excited tohave the opportunity to invite Australian audiences to experience the richhumour and cultural intensity of Sione'sWedding," said Alan Finney, managing director of BVI (Australia). "It is also great to be working with John Barnettagain following our most successful and enjoyable experience with Whale Rider."

Barnett heads productioncompany South Pacific Pictures and produced the film with Chloe Smith. JamesGriffin and Oscar Kightley wrote the script about four thirty-something men who are under strict instructions notto ruin their friend's wedding.

The film, which marks thebig screen debut of locally renowned comedy stage act Naked Samoans, has beenreleased as Sione's Wedding in itshome territory while sales agent HanWay Films is selling it internationallywith the title Samoan Wedding.

In the week ending May 3,the film took only NZ$15,000 less than Fox's Ice Age 2: The Final Meltdown, despite the US blockbuster showing on 20 more screens. Samoan Wedding has also been screeningin Fiji, Tonga and American Samoa.

Meanwhile, Dendy Films haspicked up another debut film, Last TrainTo Freo, for New Zealand and Australia. Director Jeremy Sims adapted the script from thestageplay The Return, alongside itsplaywright Reg Cribb. It was produced by Sue Taylor.

The real-time drama is seton a train and is about two thugs who turn on a handful of late-night commutersonly to discover that no-one is quite as they seem.