Last month (November) after the mid year euphoria of local movies chalking up excellent coins - KL Gangsters pulling in RM11 million, Hantu Bonceng raking in RM8.5 milion and Bini-biniku Gangster tallying RM4.7 million), the box office report for October and November aren’t flattering.
The biggest earner is the horror-comedy Alamak Toyol! which to date has taken in RM3.5 million.
Sadly, scraping the bottom of the barrel were Abuya (RM210,000) and Apa Tengok Tengok (RM190,000).
The surprise B.O. showing of November would be newly crowned MFF Best Film Director Shamsul Yusof’s Aku Bukan Tomboy which is finding it hard to repeat the RM11 million taking of KL Gangster. The gender-bending rom-com took in only RM1.5 million though most pundits expect it to break RM 2 million. This box office taking will hardly cover its reported RM1.5 million production cost.
Only two other movies (apart from Tomboy and Toyol) recouped more than RM1 million at the box office. They are horror fare Al Hijab (RM2.3 million) and Klip 3GP (RM1.2 million).
Even the CGI fest Libas, produced and directed by Jurey Latif (who won Pengarah Harapan award at the recent MFF for this film) which bowed in on Sept 29th and entered the October screening window only managed to scrape in RM1 million at the box office.
The average total in box office takings for the 8 movies screening from October to November is just shy of RM9 million. This averages RM1.15 per title. Not a good average for the Malay film industry.
Producers and directors of Ombak Rindu (Osman Ali) and Misteri Jalan Lama (Afdlin Shauki) will be nervously checking the box office tally, as these two films bowed in at the end of November and their fate will only be known by year's end.
From what I heard, tearjerker Ombak Rindu is expected to do excellent business and may even break the RM5 million which is unusual for a drama-tearjerker. Misteri Jalan Lama is said to have been a casualty.
Next up would be Datin Ghairah, Songlap, Satu Malam Kubur Berasap and Papa I Love You, which would fill up the 2011 Malaysian movie slate.
Let’s see if the year ends with a bang or a whimper.
(All numbers are taken from Finas’s website at http://finas.gov.my/index.php?mod=industry&sub=cereka&p=Filem2011)
FOOTNOTE: You really can’t trust foreign newspapers these days or you wonder where they get their facts from. Read these headlines from theguardian UK – “Malaysia's first gay film is a controversial hit” and AFP –
“Malaysia's first gay film a box office hit”:
The following is an excerpt from the AFP report – “Malaysia's first gay-themed movie has been a hit at the box office but an official from the conservative Islamic party Thursday called for it to be banned despite its anti-homosexual ending.
"Dalam Botol" ("Inside a Bottle") raked in one million ringgit ($330,000) in the first five days, making it a local hit, the Star daily reported, despite Malaysia's conservative views on homosexuality.”
If this is true then Finas’s box office report must be false. Which is which? In the Finas website where I get all my box office information, Dalam Botol only took in a little over RM500,000.00. Not the million ringgit taken in five days as stated in the AFP report.
This does not make Dalam Botol a hit at all, even in local B.O terms.
If the foreign press are faking their reports, they then have another agenda which is to say that maybe gay themed movies are accepted by local film viewers. Hmmmm...if this is true than it is a sad state of affairs for professional journalism.