Kandasamys: The Wedding has passed the R10 million mark in the third week of its release, a massive achievement for a South African film.
It could very well reach the levels of the first film, Keeping Up With The Kandasamys, which raked in R16.3 million two years ago, making it the highest grossing title produced in South Africa.
Says the film’s producer/director Jayan Moodley: “We’re going into the third week, so we don’t have a final figure yet until we’re out of cinema, but we’ve just passed the R10 million mark.”
It’s a success they hoped for, but didn’t predict.
“It’s always going to be completely unpredictable because it’s the fans who decide whether they’re going to love and support it, but there was just such incredible love for the first one that for the opening weekend it was already decided that there was going to be a huge turnout. It was a long weekend, it was an Easter weekend, and it was just such a celebratory time to release.”
Moodley says the film’s success has been because of the fans’ love of it and that word of mouth remains their best marketing tool.
“Once people watched it and they could relate to it and they loved the story, they wanted to tell their families to watch it too.”
The first film was primarily watched by an Indian-South African audience, but Moodley believes the sequel has crossed over into other audiences.
“M-Net has certainly helped us to build a crossover audience. It’s just a really proudly South African film. If you look at the sites where we are at – Secunda, Mahikeng, Limpopo and East London – it’s just a general South African viewer who enjoys family comedies. And I don’t think we have enough local comedies for us to enjoy.”
While South Africa has many quality films to be proud of, those films often struggle at the box office and Moodley says they feel blessed that audiences have been willing to pay for tickets at the cinema.
“We feel incredibly lucky and extremely blessed to have people willing to buy tickets to come and see the film. We’re up against the best of Hollywood and Bollywood, and they have phenomenal budgets. Ours is probably 2% or 3% of their budget and we just have to make it work with whatever we have. I think part of it is luck, but another part is the audience just being able to relate – they all know an auntie like that or a granny like that.
“And because family comedies aren’t done enough in South Africa, people see it as something fresh and different, and are willing to pay for a movie ticket. And every South African that does go to the cinema is helping us to build the industry and they’re paving the way for more South African films to be produced.”
She says the actors involved in both films have had their worlds changed by their success.
“We had a few activations as well as meet-and-greets around malls in Durban and it was incredible. They are completely loved across generations. The actors and actresses have said that their lives have changed and how beautiful it is to be part of a project that is just so loved.”
The first film was part of the black film makers programme that was run by the National Film and Video Foundation.
“It’s an excellent programme that helps empower black writers, directors and companies, and pairs them with experienced producers such as Helena Spring. It’s a mentorship programme that works really well because it helps you stand on your feet to move forward with the next project,” says Moodley.
Three films have been produced under this product, namely Hard to Get, Happiness Is a Four-letter Word, as well as Kandasamys: The Wedding.
Can we expect another Kandasamys instalment?
“Right now we’re just finding some time to breathe. It’s been 18 months of nonstop work and right now we just want to take some time out and enjoy the cinema run. But if the fans demand a sequel, we would maybe sit back and say ‘we have to give them something else’.”