Whale Rider has become the second highest grossing New Zealand film in its home market.
The film has grossed over $3.3m after four and half weeks, overtaking the previous number two picture What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted', also produced by South Pacific Pictures. With a local take of more than $3.8m Once Were Warriors remains the highest grossing New Zealand film in its home market.
Whale Rider Producer and South Pacific Pictures managing director John Barnett now holds the distinction of having produced the second, third and fourth highest grossing Kiwi films in the New Zealand market (Whale Rider, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted', and Footrot Flats).
Whale Rider has won the 2003 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award, the 2003 Rotterdam Festival Audience Award and the 2002 People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Directed by Niki Caro, the film is based on the novel by New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera. It stars newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, and Cliff Curtis.
Whale Rider is represented internationally by London-based sales agent, The Works, in New Zealand and Australia by Buena Vista International, and in North America by Newmarket Films.
Whale Rider is produced by South Pacific Pictures, ApolloMedia and Pandora Film. The Producers are Tim Sanders, John Barnett, and Frank Huebner. Executive Producers are Bill Gavin and Linda Goldstein Knowlton. Author Witi Ihimaera is also Associate Producer.
Whale Rider is the first film to receive funding from the New Zealand Government's new Film Production Fund. Other investors in the film are ApolloMedia in Germany, Filmstiftung NRW, The New Zealand Film Commission and NZ on Air.