4 December 2013
Following on its record opening day last Thursday, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom emerged as the highest-grossing film in South Africa this past weekend, earning R4 431 228, outgrossing the comedy Schuks! Your Country Needs You, which earned R3 635 876.
It also outgrossed the opening weekend box office of some of the biggest studio films of the year, including Hunger Games – Catching Fire, World War Z, The Wolverine and Hangover 3.
According to film group Videovision Entertainment, the movie has been playing to packed, diverse audiences from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town to Gateway in Durban, The Zone in Rosebank, Sterland in Pretoria and the Mall of the North in Polokwane, all of which were among the best-performing cinemas in the country over the weekend.
“I am extremely pleased with the audience reaction,” producer Anant Singh said in a statement on Tuesday. “I visited a few cinemas over the weekend and experienced the emotional response to the film, with audiences leaving the cinemas completely satisfied. For me as a filmmaker, this is really fulfilling.”
The film also opened in the United States on Friday, with exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles, earning an average of $25 076 per screen, the highest this past weekend, Videovision said on Tuesday.
The New York Times 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 stating: “Inevitably celebratory … it is one worth experiencing again and again.”
Meanwhile, the international roll-out of the film continued on Monday night with the French premiere of the film at the Paris headquarters of Unesco (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) ahead of its opening in France on 18 December.
Singh, director Justin Chadwick and actors Idris Elba, Naomie Harris and Lindiwe Matshikiza presented the film.
“We were encouraged with the amazing reaction from the Paris audience,” Singh said on Tuesday. “The film opened as the number one film in South Africa last week, and we expect the film to perform equally well in France.”
France will be the first European country to release the film.