TheWorld's Fastest Indian has become the mostsuccessful New Zealand story at local cinemas and it may inch into the top 10hits of any nationality.

Asof Sunday February 19, New Zealanders had spent $4,458,405 (NZ$6,694,808) tosee Anthony Hopkins play Burt Munro, who traveled from their country to Utah inthe 1960s and set a new motorcycle speed record.

Ithas been in the top 20 for 19 weeks and is still on 60 screens. Once WereWarriors, released in 1994, grossed a total of $4.44m(NZ$6.67m) for Footprint and Whale Rider grossed $4.23m (NZ$6.356m) for BVI.

(Localfilmmaker Peter Jackson's King Kong,which has grossed US$5.918m (NZ$8.89m) and is still in cinemas, and his LordOf The Rings trilogy do not count as New Zealandfilms, although both were shot there.

Itis a good time for New Zealanders wanting to see local films. No 2 opened on February 16 and took $107,744 (NZ$161,80) from 38 screens inits first four days and River Queenis up to $549,97 (NZ$825,59) after its fourth weekend in cinemas.

Alsoin the chart is Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And TheWardrobe, which shot in New Zealand.

Indian is the twelfth most popular film ever in New Zealand and it will haveto reach beyond $4.73m (NZ$7.10m) (see chart below) to get into the top 10.John Hart, who is distributing Indianon behalf of Sydney-based Dendy Films, told ScreenDaily it is "still a prospect" while Village Skycity ceo Joe Moodabe doesn'tthink it will quite get there.

Hartsaid $666,000 (NZ$1m) was spent on prints and advertising and Hopkins and theMunro story formed the core of the campaign initially. But from the outset theplan was to shift the focus to the age of the motorbike Munro rode in order toentice younger viewers. Hart is now using the media to promote the message thatit is worth seeing the film a second time.

Hartends his association with Dendy and parent company Becker from March 31, withthe sale of his third share of Auckland's Bridgeway Cinema to Becker takingeffect from July 1. He is involved in a new three-screen complex underconstruction at Matakana, just north of Auckland.

TheWorld's Fastest Indian is screening in NorthAmerican and opens in the UK on March 10 and in Australia on April 6.