South African audiences have responded overwhelmingly to Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom resulting in the film opening at Number One at the box office yesterday, out-grossing last Thursday's opening of the eagerly anticipated Hunger Games: Catching Fire by 39%. Cinemas around the country have reported unprecedented attendances for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom which translated into the excellent box office performance.
The film was the top earner on the circuits of both major exhibitors Ster Kinekor and NuMetro yesterday as well as the leading independent cinema groups, grossing a over R750,000 with a massive daily screen average of R8,620. This is a record for a Thursday out of school holidays, especially as the film has four shows compared with six shows for other films.
The manager at the Ster Kinekor cinema in Soweto's Southgate Mall said attendance was abnormally high for a Thursday, as some viewers took the day off work just to make it. Similar feedback has been received from cinemas countrywide.
Producer, Anant Singh said, "It is extremely gratifying for us as filmmakers to have our home audience embrace our film and react so positively to it. We are proud that a South African film is competing so well against one of the most anticipated sequels of all time."
The film opens today in the United States with exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles, distributed by The Weinstein Company. The influential New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers reviewed the film ahead of its opening, with the New York Times saying, "The performances give a crucial human dimension to this streamlined, panoramic epic" and the Los Angeles Times stated, "inevitably celebratory... it is one worth experiencing again and again!"
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is an Anant Singh presentation of a Justin Chadwick film. A Videovision Entertainment production in association with Distant Horizon, Origin Pictures, Pathe, Industrial Development Corporation Of South Africa and National Empowerment Fund. The film stars Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Terry Pheto, Jamie Bartlett and Deon Lotz. Music is composed by Alex Heffes with Music Contributions from Caiphus Semenya, Blondie Makhene and Dizu Plaatjies. Co-Producers are Robert Naidoo, Brian Cox, Vlokkie Gordon, Hlengiwe Makhathini with Executive Producers Cameron McCracken, François Ivernel, Geoffrey Qhena, Basil Ford, Philisiwe Mthethwa, Harvey Weinstein, Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh, and Producer for Origin Pictures is David M. Thompson. The film is produced by Anant Singh, based on Nelson Mandela's Autobiography 'Long Walk To Freedom' with the screenplay by William Nicholson and is directed by Justin Chadwick.