Weekend #1 was very good. Weekend #2 was also good. What will happen now with weekend #3?
I am talking about Matwetwe, the new movie from Kagiso Lediga that is breaking ground in SA.
Releasing a film in cinemas is always a nerve wrecking and risky proposition, and it is a lot of hard work. Yes, making the film is hard work too, but the journey of marketing and selling a film is proper intense. You first have to convince the cinemas to give you a chance. There is no shortage of movie product out there, and there is a limit on the number of cinema screens in the world. And to compete with big Hollywood titles, who have serious marketing budgets, is always a challenge. So, let’s say you get past the first hurdle, and your film is now set for a theatrical release, what then. You do all you can to market the film and spread the word, and then you pray. Of course, if you have a fantastic film that always helps, and in this case the film is a winner. People are loving it. But are enough people going to see it? That is always the biggest challenge. The numbers are what determines everything.
It is all about supply and demand. If a cinema complex has 10 screens, for example, and there are 5 new movies coming out each Friday, then which 5 movies stay on, and which 5 movies come off? Simple: the ones that make the most money, the top 5. So, if you are in the bottom part of the list, you are off. It is brutal, and there are no second chances. On the opening weekend (weekend #1) we exceeded all expectations, and we came in the top 5, and in following weekend (weekend #2) we did very well, and again, we came in the top rankings. The demand has been very clear, the numbers so compelling, that the cinema footprint expanded from 16 screens in the opening week, to 29 screens in the second week, and now, going into weekend #3, we are on 36 screens. This is very very exciting indeed, and also, a rare occurrence in the world of cinema.
The most important measurable is what is called “screen average”, which can be translated into “profit per screen”. In a business, think of it as “profit per employee”. Matwetwe has had the second highest screen average for the past 2 weeks. Perhaps going into its third week it will maintain this position. This is what determines the supply. The cinemas are making good money from this movie – the people are voting with their wallets.
Tomorrow starts weekend #3. Bring it on !!!
The excitement and the nail biting continues.
I wrote a piece about the Matwetwe cinema journey a couple of weeks back, when the film came out – you can read it here : https://medium.com/@ronnieapteker/matwetwe-ce83c9750e3c