THIS month was lackluster for Malaysian cinema, with four local releases debuting to lukewarm numbers.
Warna Cinta Impian was the first of the lot, though not strictly an April release having been sent to wide release on 31 March 2016. Directed by N. S. Krishna, whose last film was made over 10 years ago, Warna Cinta Impian made RM164,147.60 from two weeks of screening — contrary to its directors belief that his Malay-language debut will pull viewers back to local cinema.
Devastating news for TouchTronics Entertainment when you consider their film cost RM2.7 million. On top of having been partly shot in Jaipur and Sydney, Warna Cinta Impian also starred Awie, Erra Fazira, Shiqin Kamal and Fad Bocey.
This Bollywood-inspired action-romance was timed to coincide with the temporary resurgence of Indian cinema led by the likes of Bajirao Mastani, Dilwale and Aranmanai 2, but failed to connect with audiences. To get a better sense of the entire thing, have a look at the trailer.
Substituting pictureseque song sequences with street dance and a torso-baring Ammar Alfian was Grand Brilliance‘s Showdown The Movie, which marked Khai Bahar‘s major motion picture debut. There was strong hype for the young director’s biggest film to date — even Shuhaimi Baba showed up for the austere, matter-of-fact premiere at Quill City Mall — but there was only so much Khai could do to lift the film’s flimsy script.
Did the film arrive too late? Despite being based on the popular television dance competition which concluded its run in 2013, Showdown The Movie couldn’t draw in the masses, finishing around the RM390,000 mark based on our estimates.
But if song and dance won’t work, what about something a little bit more serious?
We’ve written a fair bit about Redha. Perhaps the most technically-accomplished and best-written film we’ve seen thus far in 2016, Redha seeks to enlighten the Malaysian masses about autism. Directed by Tunku Mona Riza, the film benefited from a strong cast as well as understated, matured writing.
It proved difficult to appeal to Malaysian tastes, but good word-of-mouth helped the film hold on relatively steady after it opened across 70 screens, dipping only 24% in its second weekend at the box office. Two weeks in and its pulled in approximately RM440,000 — this is however far from the film’s breakeven point of RM7 million.
Redha has been running on around 40 screens the past week, but lost a majority of screens yesterday, playing in just five cinemas around the country as of today. You might still be able to catch it at future screenings, so keep an eye out for news from us.
Should the Redha team have opted for a slow-building limited release strategy akin to Jess Teong‘s family drama The Kid From The Big Apple? We don’t actually know, but if there were comprehensive box office reports lying around like in the United States and China, then box office analysis can be crowdsourced and it might lead to answers.
Last week, Lu Mafia Gua Gangster opened in cinemas nationwide, but it provoked many questions on Twitter. It also got us to question how marketing campaigns like this get approved or were planned: no official website, godawful promotional images and a cringe-worthy trailer make up the movie’s promotion plan.
Starring Zero, the three brothers crowned winners at 2014’s Maharaja Lawak Mega, Lu Mafia Gua Gangster is the result of a collaboration between Red Fires Film Production and RJ Future Films.
Unfortunately, the inclusion of Saiful Apek and Jalalludin Hassan did little for the film’s chances. The film raked in about RM80,000 in its debut week and looks set to disappear soon.
Lacking a real graphic designer on the team, there’s only so much Lu Mafia Gua Gangster‘s social media admin could have done despite the effort put into running their Facebook page.
There is one local movie out this week playing on a humble nine screens. Perjanjian Syaitan is a horror film directed by M. Subash and it stars Imuda, Datuk Ahmad Tamimi Siregar and Mak Jah. Originally slated for February, it appears out of nowhere and should vanish by next Thursday.
So we guess this is really how April 2016 will end. Too real, fellas, too real.
Look out for next week, when Raja Mukhriz‘s follow-up to 2014’s Ophilia kicks off the month of May. Made on a budget of RM800,000, Harmonika is a character-driven horror film which ditches CGI for some traditional, analog scares.