There is plenty of money being made from movies in SA

As our film industry is struggling to pick up steam at the box office despite growth in the number of local films being produced, I often hear the argument that people just don't go to cinemas anymore. These numbers tell a different story. 

South Africans are paying money to see movies — they are just not paying to see local movies in big numbers.

In 2010 the nominal value of the local exhibition market was calculated at R782-million with a market value of R800 million by the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa. Of that South African films contributed R87-million. 

By 2016 a  total of 228 were released in that year with a total R1.2-billion generated from ticket sales — a little less than the 2015 box office intake of R 1.2- billion. 28 South African produced films were released which makes part of that 2016 release roster generating R69-million in ticket sales. 

Leon Schuster films in the last 10 years have made a combined  R192-million at the box office. 

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2013 report on cinema infrastructure, there are over 850 screens in South Africa. That number has increased with more malls having been built since then so I can estimate that we atleast have over 900 screens now. 

Just to give you an idea of how much money is made in selling tickets here are the highest grossing films in SA and their earnings for the last 10 years; 

2008 - Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past  R49-million
2009 - Avatar R103-million

2010 - Schuks Tshabalala’s Guide to S.A. R69-million

2011 - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1  R52-million

2012  - The Avengers (2012) R62-million

2013 - Despicable Me 2 R54-million

2014 - Transformers: Age of Extinction  R33-million
2015 - Fast and Furious 7  R78-million

2016 - Finding Dory   R41-million

2017 - Fast and Furious 8 is currently no.1 with R74-million, but I see Despicable Me 3 surpassing that when it finishes its circuit run. 

Our local films beside the Leon Schuster offering have done ok. In 2016 Vir Altyd grossed R16-million followed by Happiness is a Four Letter Word at R14-million. This year Keeping Up With The Kandasamys had a great run eventually bowing out of the box office with over R16-million on a 12 week run. 

Obviously, with the exception of the Schuster films, our local films pale in comparison to what international titles get at our cinemas in terms of tickets sales and the number of screen allocation — but there clearly is a cinema-goers market in South Africa. We just have to find a way to make our own films more appealing to them.

It is not the cost of the cinema experience or locations. People are still watching films in cinemas just not local films. We have to fix that instead of constantly bringing race and socio-economic issue into it.

We have to ask; why are the people who are paying to watch 'Fast and The Furious' and 'Finding Dory' not willing to pay to watch our own films beside the Leon Schuster ones.  

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