New Zealanders are proving to be god-fearing types. That is one explanation, anyway, for The Passion Of The Christ being the most popular film for the fifth consecutive weekend. The film's NZ$234,685 gross for the four days to March 21 was higher than each of the two previous weekends but this was helped by screen numbers being boosted from 29 to 39.
Next down the chart was Columbia TriStar's Mona Lisa Smile, which took NZ$180,581 on previews from 53 screens, then BVI's Hidalgo, which took NZ$132,291 from 30 screens in its opening weekend, then UIP's Paycheck which grossed NZ$91,110 in its second outing. Rounding out the top five is the resilient The Return Of The King.
There were three new faces in the chart apart from Mona Lisa Smile. 20th Century Fox's Out Of Time took NZ$77,382 from 35 screens in its first weekend to grab the seventh spot, and Hoyts/Icon's Monster just scraped into the top ten with a gross of NZ$46,845 from previews on just nine screens, no doubt helped by the Academy Awards.
The third opener was House Of Sand And Fog, which grossed NZ$20,421 from eight screens to finish in 15th spot.