At its first official opening weekend at the box office - audiences were first warmed up on previews - Columbia TriStar's Mona Lisa Smile has pushed The Passion Of The Christ off the top spot with a gross of NZ$309,933 from 53 screens.
The Haunted Mansion's NZ$259,523 gross from 50 screens in its first weekend for BVI also out-performed The Passion, leaving it in third place.
In fact, four of the top five films were openers. Hoyts/Icon's The Butterfly Effect took NZ$106,292 from 32 screens to come in fourth and only just behind was Monster with NZ$105,115 for the same distributor after a week of previews. This is a very strong performance considering it is only on 13 screens and has Charlize Theron's Academy Award to thank.
The only film with a higher screen average than Monster is The Station Agent, which first appeared three weeks ago in the 20th spot but has since climbed to 13th for BVI/Miramax.
The fifth opening film in the top 20 chart is UIP's The Perfect Score which grossed NZ$31,734 from 28 screens.