Five local films to vie for Raya audience


By ZIEMAN
  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 05 Nov 2003

BY ZIEMAN

PETALING JAYA: Five local movies will compete in the cinema circuit during the year-end school break and the Hari Raya Aidilfitri season. 

It is a rare occurrence in the film industry because there has never been so many home-grown movies vying for audience attention at the same time. 

The films, slotted under the National Film Development Corporation's (Finas) syarat wajib tayang (must-screen ruling), are: MX3 (produced by M.E. Communications Sdn Bhd and Skop Productions), Mr Cinderella 2 (Kuasatek and Skop Productions), Jutawan Fakir (Metrowealth Movie Productions), Lang Buana (Grand Brilliance) and Gila Bola (Nizarman Sdn Bhd). 

MX3, a comedy about three insurance detectives starring Saiful Apek and the Erra Fazira comedy Mr Cinderella 2 are expected to be screened on Nov 25. 

This will be followed by Lang Buana (a sequel to the hugely popular Senario movies), scheduled for Dec 4, and Jutawan Fakir (where singer Waheeda makes her debut with Saiful Apek) on Dec 18. 

Gila Bola (starring singer Fazley), about a village boy going to the city to find fame and fortune in football, will be screened around Christmas time. 

The scheduling of the films over a one-month period has drawn mixed reaction from the producers, with opponents saying it does not make sense considering the limited audience for local movies while those who welcome the competition said movie-goers will have more choices. 

Kuasatek Pictures proprietor/producer and scriptwriter Mohd Noor Kadir described the move as “drastic.” 

“It may create local history but it certainly doesn’t make sense. I think the move will eventually kill the film industry,” said the producer of Mr Cinderella 2, which will have diva Anita Sarawak making a cameo appearance.  

He added: “The decision was made without considering the infrastructure that we have.  

“It’s an irrational and emotional decision. Our film industry is not ready for this. One has to look at the interest of the film industry first before making this sort of decision.”  

Mohd Noor Kadir, who wrote and produced popular mini-series like Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet, Salam Taj Mahal, Surah Terakhir and Minah Meenachi, is worried that with five movies screening at the same time, collection will be affected. 

For Metrowealth International Group chief executive officer David Teo, film producers have no choice but to accept the reality that the film industry is growing and there will be more than 30 movies waiting to be screened next year. 

“We have to accept this reality. With 30 movies to be screened, imagine how long we have to wait if only one movie is allowed for screening in a month. 

Teo’s advice to those who complain is: “Do not be selfish. If you don’t feel like competing, then you shouldn’t be making movies at all.” 

Defending Finas, he said the film corporation had made a fair decision.  

“This is after all a democratic country. You don’t expect to monopolise the cinema during the Hari Raya festive season.  

“Other producers would like their movies to be screened around the same time too,” said the enterprising producer who plans to churn out at least 11 movies next year. 

On the issue of poor collection, he said this will only crop up if the movie does not live up to expectations. 

Citing his film, Mami Jarum Junior, he said it raked in RM1.8mil when it was pitted against the popular Hollywood animated movie, Finding Nemo (which reaped RM6mil). 

Giving another example, he said that during the last Aidilfitri season, when two Malay movies – Mami Jarum and Cinta 200 Ela – were screened, Mami Jarum took home RM3mil while Cinta 200 Ela only managed to gross RM143,000. 

“You can have all the cinemas to yourself but if the viewers do not want to watch your movie, there is nothing you can do,” said Teo who is in the midst of shooting his next movie, 7 Perhentian, before year-end. 

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