Cliff Curtis excited by blockbuster success of NZ-made film The Meg

The number one movie in the US over the weekend was a big-budget shark movie made in little old Auckland.

Prehistoric shark story The Meg was not only shot along our gorgeous coastline, but against the newest biggest green screen in New Zealand at the new Kumeu Film Studios.

The Meg stars action man Jason Statham opposite our own Cliff Curtis; he's just back from promoting the film to US audiences at the LA premiere, and says he jumped at the chance for a starring role in a big local production.

"That was the number one draw for me - was to come home, and to stay home, and to do a project here at home," he explained.

Alongside Curtis, making her big screen and Civic debut, is 10-year-old Aucklander, Sophia Cai - and he gives her big plaudits.

"I remember my first young actress was Anna Paquin on my first film; then Keisha Castle-Hughes; and James Rolleston - there's a great pedigree here."

Cai brings an all-knowing sense of fun to proceedings, in a film unashamedly aimed at the masses.

The Meg topped the box office in over 40 countries at the weekend, including the US - and that's crucial for the local film industry.

"It's hugely important to us to be able to continue to make films here, that we make successful films at the box office," Curtis said.

"Not just critically - critically is great - but box office is what keeps things ticking over."

Cai says The Meg has done for her what Jaws did for the earlier generation - it's put her off swimming anywhere that isn't a pool.