'Mat Kilau' is the No.1 Malaysian film of all-time, earning RM53mil in 13 days

Syamsul Yusof directing Datuk Adi Putra for a scene in 'Mat Kilau Kebangkitan Pahlawan'. Photo: Syamsul Yusof/Instagram

Mat Kilau has been showing for 13 days now, and it’s still going strong. Even on a weekday, the cinema is full. Thank you, thank you,” director Syamsul Yusof said in an Instagram video.

According to Syamsul, the film has earned RM53mil in 13 days and is now the highest grossing Malaysian film of all-time.

“A Malaysian film can go far. It’s just extraordinary,” he added in the video.

Syamsul has been charting the film’s success via Instagram on daily basis – listing out the new records Mat Kilau: Kebangkitan Pahlawan has been setting since it opened at cinemas nationwide on June 23.

As stated in previous reports, most of the old records are ones that Syamsul himself set with his 2018 horror flick Munafik 2.

To recap, Munafik 2 was crowned the No.1 Malaysian film having collected RM37.7mil at the local box office. Its box office gross for Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia was a total of RM48mil.

His latest film surpassed the Malaysian box office record having collected RM43.9mil in ticket sales in 12 days, and earned the above-mentioned RM53mil in box office gross for Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore in 13 days.

Mat Kilau – a period film starring Datuk Adi Putra, Beto Kusyairy, Fattah Amin, Yayan Ruhan and Johan As'ari – tells one portion of the life of Malay warrior Mat Kilau, who fought against the British in the late 19th century.

The film depicts the moment when Mat Kilau and his father, Tok Gajah, attacked the British military base with 80 other fighters.

Despite its present success, Mat Kilau faced a lot of challenges during its production period. Before Syamsul stepped in as the director, another production company and director were approached to helm the historical action drama.

Once the production did start in 2018, after Syamsul rewrote a big chunk of the original screenplay, it was shut down temporarily after completing 70% of filming due to “internal conflict”.

When StarLifestyle asked Syamsul what was the biggest challenge in making Mat Kilau, Syamsul said it was the budget.

Produced by Studio Kembara, the film was reportedly made with RM8mil, while one earlier report stated it was made with RM5mil.

“When Puteri Gunung Ledang (2004) was made almost 20 years ago, it had a budget of RM16mil. How was I going to make Mat Kilau today with just RM8mil?,” Syamsul said in an interview last week.

“Technically it didn't make sense to me. But I had to start this project.

“So, with my team and some creativity we pulled off making a period film with what we had.

“I learned a lot from watching what Jackie Chan did for his movies – he didn’t have a Hollywood budget, he used what he could.

“That’s why I admit, there’s no big sets in Mat Kilau or impressive shots of the palace. Instead, I appeal to the audience through the story, character development and the spirit of a Malay warrior.”

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