2014 in review: SA film stumbles at the box office

2014-12-17 15:02

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The combined earnings of the SA movies in the top 100 tumbled from R100.6 million to R38.3m this year.

2013 saw big name releases like Schuks! Your Country Needs you (earning almost R30m from local tickets), Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (R25m) and breakout animation Khumba (R9m).

This year the highest-grossing film so far has been the adventure romcom Pad Na Jou Hart (R12.9m) which placed 19th overall and was backed by KykNet, the TV channel that has steadily been helping grow the film industry.

Big winner: Pad na jou hart is the highest grossing South African film at the box office this year

Pad Na Jou Hart tells the story of a spoiled young man who must cross the country facing numerous challenges if he wants to inherit his father’s business empire. He meets a young woman en route. It was directed by Jaco Smit and starred newcomers Ivan Botha, DonnaLee Roberts.

It is followed by Faan se Trein (35th) and Vrou Soek Boer (45th) in a year that saw Afrikaans return to its dominant position at the local box office but far fewer films making a showing.

Leading Lady, a romcom set in an Afrikaans community, is at 53rd but is still moving up the charts after its recent release and will improve its position before the year is out.

Konfetti came in at 74th and only then did non-Afrikaans themed films make a showing. Heist thriller iNumber Number is at 82nd and crime thriller Hard To Get at 97th, but neither of the new wave of SA thrillers matched last year’s gentle modern fable Nothing For Mahala.

The top three places at the local box office this year again go to Hollywood blockbusters. Transformers: Age of Extinction was the nation’s most-attended film, earning R28.7m. It was followed by How to Train Your Dragon 2 (R24.8) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (R23.9m)

The traditional reason given for poor showings for films based in black South Africa is that there are almost no movie theatres in the townships. The government this year announced the formation of the Emerging Black Filmmakers Transformation Fund to try to boost the chances of black film makers. Producers only earn 50% of their ticket sales. The other half goes to the venues and distributors showing the films. It remains extremely difficult to break even on a local film, even when DVD and TV screening numbers are added.

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