South Africa: No Cinema, No Problem - Local Film 'Griekwastad' a DStv Boxoffice Hit

The Afrikaans film, Griekwastad has seen more than 50 000 digital rentals so far on DStv's BoxOffice.

Griekwastad, a locally-produced South African film meant for the big screen, had to forego its red carpet premiere and the usual press tour to instead make its debut on the small screen on 5 May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It's the first local film to open directly on the pay-per-view window that is usually reserved for films after they've completed their theatrical run at cinemas.

The result has been astounding.

Available exclusively on DStv BoxOffice online and on DStv PVRs, Griekwastad is based on the best-selling book by veteran journalist Jacques Steenkamp, directed by Jozua Malherbe and stars Arnold Vosloo and Rolanda Marais.

The film centres on the story about the horrific murders on the Naauwhoek farm in the Northern Cape in April 2012.

The 50 000 rentals and counting is even more spectacular for Griekwastad keeping in mind that it has an 18SVNL age restriction. The higher the rating, the more limited the potential audience of a movie.

Secondly, dark subject matter like crime thrillers, especially based on gruesome real-life events, lure fewer moviegoers than comedies, romcoms or adventure films.

" Griekwastad has been rented more than 50 000 times," Tim Theron, who plays Jacques Steenkamp in the film, tells Channel24.

Tim is one of the film's producers through the SCENE23 production company, together with Deon Meyer, Cobus van den Berg and Tracey Lange.

"There is no way to know how many people actually watched the film when rented, but it's safe to assume that in most cases it would have been more than one person, which would put the film somewhere close to, or just over, 100 000 in terms of people that watched it," he says.

"We're extremely thankful for the support and overwhelmingly positive reaction to the film," says Tim, explaining how Griekwastad had to adapt its film release.

"When we decided to release the film digitally on DStv BoxOffice, we changed our entire marketing approach to digital and social media, with support from kykNET/M-Net and DStv BoxOffice on their channels - and it seems to have worked, despite the film not having a cinema window.

"It wouldn't have helped at all though if we didn't have the extremely positive word-of-mouth which is still the best marketing tool out there."

About the already-incredible numbers, he says, "this is definitely not a record yet". "We're pretty sure there have been films on DStv BoxOffice that have had more rentals. So, we'll have to see once the rental period ends.

"The movie was made for the big screen - the way it was shot, the way the music and score were mixed, so we would definitely have loved for people to be able to enjoy and watch this film in a cinema.

"The one advantage for the viewer is definitely that this allows you to watch a film with a more serious, and somewhat upsetting subject matter, in the comfort of your own home," he says.

"We think and believe the reason people gravitate towards Griekwastad is the same reason the actual case was able to grab the attention of the whole country - everyone wants to know the answer to one question: Why? Why did this happen? Why did a teenage boy kill his entire family?"

"We don't try and answer this question in the film, but what we do show is the journey of everyone, especially our police detective, that was pulled into this tragic event and had to try and make sense of it."

Source: Channel24

More From: News24Wire

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