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HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

“Dark of the Night,” a $325,000 New Zealand thriller about a vintage Jaguar with a haunted past, comes to the Cineplex in mid-May. Those are considerably nicer digs than where the pic originally opened--in a Wellington porno house.

Director Gaylene Preston and producer Robin Laing were unable to break into what they call the distribution “duopoly” in New Zealand--theater chains owned by the distributors, which rarely takes on small, locally made pics until they’ve successfully played in the U.S. or U.K.

So the two women “took matters into our own hands” and rented the porn theater, where “Dark of the Night” played five weeks. After that, it was an Auckland theater--and a 17-week run. Quartet Films grabbed U.S. distribution.


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