2017 was a somewhat regressive year for South African film at the Box Office. According to Box Office Mojo’s Year End List, only one film ranked within 2017’s top 50 highest grossing films in South Africa. Keeping Up With The Kandasamys, with the distinction of being the first wide-released Indian South African movie, ranked as the 25th highest grossing film of the year. That’s a drop from 2016 where 3 films ranked within the same region; record-breaking films Vir Altyd and Happiness is a Four Letter Word ranked 21st and 25th respectively, whilst Vir Die Voëls (a film with a 2015 cinematic release) finished 41st. One may attribute many different factors why South African films continue to under-perform but one I’d like to address is lack of exposure.
A sizeable amount of South African films come and leave the circuit without much of the public being aware of their existence. I personally believe Pop Lock n Roll, an innovative and enjoyable South African take on a dance film, deserved better box-office earnings when compared to the performance of its international counterparts, see the Step Up franchise. In its week of release my family and two other people made up the viewing audience on a prime-time showing. After doing some basic research, I discovered that few people (especially friends who love dance films) knew of the film’s existence. There are other films like this which go under the radar but deserve better praise, support and recognition. So this blog piece, and subsequent pieces I shall release of its kind in the future, hopes to bring light to the number of South African films coming in the near future. This next quarter’s films are so diverse in range, it seems to have something for almost anyone to get behind and support.
[Disclaimer: I do not know all the films coming out in the next quarter so if I have missed out on any please do let me know. I will look into their trailers and add them on as I go on. These are the films that I am aware of.]
UPDATE: Asinamali’s release date has been pushed back to 3rd August, and will thus be previewed in that quarter.
- Catching Feelings – 09th March 2018
This movie looks like a really good romantic comedy/drama hybrid in the same vein as The Big Sick; a romance reimagined with millenial/post 21st Century sensibilities. Brought from the same team that gave you Blitz Patrollie and Bantu Hour, with a splashy cast including Pearl Thusi, Kagiso Lediga and Akin Omotoso, you should be able to expect plenty of dry humour and earnestness in this film.
- Meerkat Maantuig – 16th March 2018
This movie’s trailer feels reminiscent of the great family fantasy films that ran from the late-80’s into the 90’s – the child led wonders like Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and Jumanji. The film’s penned and directed by Hannah Schutte, a previous winner of the prestigious Jameson First Shot Competition with her short Saving Norman. Of all the films, this one seems most catered to younger audiences as well as whole entertainment suitable for the whole family.
- Susters – 30th March 2018
Genre: Road Trip Comedy/Chick Flick
Susters is a reunion-based chick flick, in a similar vein to Girls Trip, mixed in with the adventure and unexpectedness that’s allowed/expected with a road trip film, see Chef or Rat Race. Helmed by the same director that brought you Vaselinetjie and Hollywood in my Huis, this film looks set to be a film for chick-flick lovers.
- Five Fingers for Marseilles – 06th April 2018
Five Fingers for Marseilles looks to be one of the more visually stunning local productions to hit cinemas period. It’s the second local western I know of this decade, the first being double feature Moeder en Bloed. This movie looks to have a blockbuster action film appeal, with an all-star cast including Kenneth Nkosi, Warren Masemola and Vuyo Dabula, I’ve not seen on this scale here since iNumber Number, Chappie and Hard to Get. The team have also been nominated for best short film at this year’s SAFTA’s, with Apocalypse Now Now.
- Zulu Wedding – 20th April 2018
Historically, Zulu Wedding looks best set to financially impress local audiences. Family friendly romance hybrids are the current best performing films with South African audiences. This film seems to hit that sweet spot with a trailer filled with a healthy mix of comedy, romance and is rooted in with a deep sense of culture. Zulu Wedding seems poised to be a breakout hit. This film also holds the distinction of being the first South African wide-release film to be directed and produced by a black woman, Lineo Sekeleoane.
- The Number – 20th April 2018
“The film is set in an overcrowded South African prison, peopled by cruel warders and hardened tattooed men in regulation orange overalls. Between the cells, corridors, showers and exercise yard, we discover how the Numbers operate.” – Writing Studio
Note: I’m still looking for a trailer and/or poster to give my own perspective and reference points. Will update once these are released.
- Wonderlus – 27th April 2018
A directorial debut by Johan Cronje, Wonderlus revolves around the aftermath of a tumultuous wedding. Based on the trailer, I’m not sure I’ve seen a film quite like this before. Most wedding-based films I know lean towards comedy or making fun of specific tropes that come with marriage in a modern backdrop. This looks more like a dissection of it of which I’m really interested to see.
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