Local movies hit the big time, setting new records

Safe House, which opened in American cinemas on February 10 raked in $40m (about R309m) and when it opened last weekend in over 69 South African cinemas nationwide it grossed R4.1m. by Zwelakhe Shangase

United International Picture’s Ruth Wessie said the success of Safe House was attributed to the fact that it was shot at the Cape Town Film Studios and also had a strong South African feel to it.

CEO of Cape Town Film Studios, Nico Dekker, said in a statement: “It is certainly is exciting for us to be playing host to high profile international productions of the calibre of Safe House.”

In second place, raking in R1.3m at the box office, was Afrikaans romantic comedy Semi-Soet, which was released at 65 cinemas nationwide and seen by over 41000 people.

The film secured a 2% advantage over local hit musical Platteland on its opening weekend.

Semi-Soet features local actors like Anel Alexander (Discreet, 7de Laan), Nico Panagio (Survivor), Diaan Lawrenson (7de Laan, Stander) and Paul du Toit (Liefling, Binnelanders).

CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, Helen Kuun said the major contributing factor of the film’s success was due to the fact that it appealed to a certain racial grouping in SA, and people went to the cinemas and got value for their money.

“We are really happy with its performance, and it shows the progression the film industry has made when it comes to rom-coms.

“Semi-Soet is light, uplifting entertainment and it’s uniquely South African. It brings the winelands of the Cape and the city of Johannesburg to life.”

Kuun reiterated the fact that the three films have made history by occupying the first three spots: “a first for South Africa”.

In third place, the much-anticipated comedy, Material – The Movie, featuring Riaad Moosa and Joey Rasdien, which was released at 65 cinemas nationwide, bought in R1.3m at the box office.

It fell a few percentages shy of Semi-Soet in competing for the second spot, but it certainly got rave reviews from critics and movie lovers.

Moosa plays the lead character in the film, a young Muslim man who works in his father’s fabric shop in Fordsburg, Johannesburg.

As per family tradition Moosa, as the only son, is expected to take over the family business from his father.

Through a series of coincidences, he lands up doing an open mic session at a local comedy club and he discovers a hidden talent for comedy; a passion is sparked within him like nothing previously had in his life.

He is encouraged to carry on with the comedy, a path that brings him into conflict, not only with his father but also other family members and some elements of his community.

Essentially the story tells a tale of a family grappling with universal issues like identity, responsibility and duty.

Wessie said that the success of the film was due to the cast, but most importantly, that it told the story of Moosa.

The film features other well-known local actors, including Vincent Ebrahim, Denise Newman, Krijay Govender and Joey Rasdien.

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