2017 year in review: critics vs the box office

The critics rave over the horror-thriller Get Out but it made little impact on Kiwi audiences.

New Zealand film critics’ choice of their best film of the year as Get Out follows a solid endorsement by similar international polls.

Get Out was released in June but made little headway at the box office, finishing 69th on Mojo’s 2017 list with takings of about $545,000.

It starts as a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? premise with a young black man meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. But it then becomes a paranoid horror/thriller, detouring into unexpected laughs without alleviating the overall tension.

A poll of 40 critics published by Sight & Sound also ranks Get Out at the top, as does a survey by the IndieWire website and this meta-list of critical opinion.

But unlike their global colleagues, Kiwi critics also gave thumbs up to local hero Taika Waititi’s box office hit Thor: Ragnarok, which they ranked fourth after Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049.

The poll was compiled by movie website Flicks.co.nz, owned by NZX-listed Vista, while the critics work for mainstream media titles such as the Dominion Post, NZ Listener, NZ Herald and Sunday Star-Times or for Newshub, Newstalk ZB, RNZ's The Wireless, The Spinoff and Stuff.

Last year, Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople grossed a record-breaking $12.1 million.

Kiwi-made Waru, a low-budget production linking eight single-take episodes of 12 minutes each, ranked fifth.

The others, in order, are: The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Call Me By Your Name, Baby Driver, Moonlight and A Ghost Story.

Meanwhile, Mojo’s compilation of New Zealand’s yearly box office takings (to Dec 24) shows Thor: Ragnarok still holding top place at $7 million after the latest Star Wars episode (The Last Jedi) dropped 66% in its second weekend, boosting its total to $5.2 million.

However, it's likely to overtake second-placed Beauty and the Beast’s $6.3 million and Dunkirk’s $5.9 million as the other top box office champions of 2017.

Disclosure: Nevil Gibson participated in the Kiwi critics' poll. Half of his picks made the top 10.

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