Kalushi star cries sabotage
Thabo Rametsi, the star of the biopic of struggle icon Solomon Mahlangu, is seething at what he called "lack of support" from local cinemas.
The film has been dropped from a reported 36 cinemas following its release last month, and it is now shown in only 18 cinemas nationwide.
Rametsi, who stars alongside South African actress Pearl Thusi, told Sowetan that the movie has been "sabotaged" by local cinema companies.
He said they were given 17 cinemas nationwide and after they complained to Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister of Arts and Culture and the number was increased to 33.
"Even then, the cinemas they allocated for Kalushi are mostly [Cine] Prestige, which means tickets are more expensive than your normal cinemas, which means our targeted market cannot, on average, afford a ticket.
"Even I don't watch movies at Prestige."
Rametsi said the cinemas allocated for the movie are also not close enough to the townships, which is where a majority of people more likely to watch the movie are located.
Rametsi pointed out that Kalushi was still not available at cinemas in the North West and Limpopo.
The movie is believed to have grossed just under R5-million in its two months at cinemas, despite the popular hashtag #GoSeeKalushi.
It bagged the best film award at the Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt recently.
The movie also premiered at the British Film Institute last week on the day which marked 38 years since Mahlangu was hanged.
NuMetro said in a statement the movie was removed because there were bigger films such as Keeping with the Kadasamays which has raked in R1.6 million at the box office on opening weekend, while Kalushi managed only R763 877 in the opening week.
UPDATE: Statement from Ster-Kinekor
Kalushi had opening screenings at twenty-seven Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country, in its first week of release. In addition, in week two, we added four additional screens, with another one added in the third week of its release. In most instances, we add additional sites following the film’s performance in its first and second weeks of release. The movie is now in its fifth week on the circuit, and is currently playing at nine Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country. It is common for movies to have reduced screens as the weeks progress and this is no different for Kalushi.
In addition, Ster-Kinekor sponsored a special screening of the movie at Ster-Kinekor’s Waterfall Mall site in Rustenburg, on 17 March, as part of its sponsorship of the Youth Achiever Award during the SAFTAs 11 weekend ceremonies. Learners from local schools in the area were invited to attend the screening. Ster-Kinekor also hosted a number of special screenings for the general public and for stakeholders from various corporates and government departments. In March, we also hosted an event at our Mall of Africa cinema with the film makers, key media and guests to discuss the film and drive support for the local film industry; driving efforts within our cinema space and creating awareness for the movie. To date, we have sold 12 block bookings for the film through the Ster-Kinekor sales team.
Our scheduling is determined by audience attendance trends and demands, as well as weekly new release schedules. This is the general process we follow for all movie releases, allowing room for changes to our screening schedule and rotation of movie titles.
To date Kalushi has brought in over R2.3 million at our box office since release.
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