Wake up Nu Metro and Ster-Kinekor! You are losing numbers…

[ 0 ] June 24, 2014 |

What do the fat cat cinema houses do for the local entertainment industry, other than capitalise on Hollywood big budget films?

Not much.

These cinema outlets are inconvenient not only for their location, strategically located for the middle to upper middle class of society, but also because of the exorbitant price of tickets. In turn, this leads to guilt free piracy of both international and local movies, resulting in a much lower return for our local film industry and its filmmakers.

The spin of it all is a slower production process for any further local content, resulting in an African nation becoming more steeped in American culture. In fact, Africa has so much story and beauty to offer the world – if only the industry had more financial support…

What does this have to do with the price of movie tickets you wonder?

Well, it’s simple math – cheaper tickets means more bums in seats and better returns for production down the line, resulting in a healthier and more robust industry.

Lets work it out real quickly:
Average Ticket: R60.00
Snacks: R45.00
Total PP: R105.00
Family of four: R420.00
The average monthly income: R2800.00

How can the mass of our population afford to go to the movies? Forget about going on a regular basis. The movies have to come to them, right? While it is the masses that will turn a profit for our filmmakers, the fact of the matter is, going to Ster-Kinekor and/or Nu Metro is ridiculously expensive for a family day out. The lower income-earning individual does not have the opportunity for the “greater than life” experience because the average household income is minimal in comparison to the price of a movie ticket.

You can pick up a pirate copy of iNumber Number, Four Corners, or any other Hollywood blockbuster/local production for R20.00 in South Africa and/or Nigeria. According to director, Ian Gabriel of Four Corners:
“10 000 copies of the film was sold prior to its release”, through piracy. At R20.00 a copy, that’s R200 000.00 of which the filmmaker and his production partners will never see again.

Besides all of this, the average South African “big budget” film costs $1million to produce, whereas a Hollywood big budget film is in the region of $10million upward. How does it make sense that the movie houses are selling tickets to Hollywood blockbusters for the same price as the South African “big budget” movies? This is simply cheating the consumer.

Until these conglomerates realise the knock-on effect of the current cinema business model, which is all about “prestige”, and renew their approach of getting a mass audience in their seats, our film industry will continue to suffer.

Let’s take a look at India, this country has a population of 1.2 billion people +/- they also have the cheapest movie tickets in the world and produces approximately 800 big budget films annually. India is home to the richest actor (Shah Rukh Khan) and has Bollywood, the richest film industry in the world; the cheapest movie ticket in the world, with the largest cinema releases in the world, equals a business model and industry where everyone is happy. It’s no wonder they are signing and dancing in almost every scene.

If this article does not reach the cinema moguls, hopefully it will arouse entrepreneurs to take up a challenge and cater towards Africa’s masses.

This is possible.

Better returns for local filmmakers at the box office means more money spent developing stories that are relative to our African society, as opposed to that of our Hollywood counterparts.

Stories are meant for everyone, and at most times only a select few actually get to experience good stories. As far as I know, movies are meant to amplify reality, entertain, and inspire the lives that need it most. Putting back into society with local content, investing in scripts and concepts from the grass root level can happen, if the end product is affordable to the common man. It’s simple math, really!

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Category: Home, The Film Business