As numbers for local film Happiness Is A Four Letter Word ticket sales begin to dwindle, it looks set that this toast of local film industry will fall short of breaking further records or even taking on the mighty Leon Schuster.
For the last 10 years Leon Schuster has ruled the South African box office. The comedian's films have grossed a combined estimate of about R250 million. The highest grossing local film of all time is a Schuster offering in 2010, which was Schuks Tshabalala's Guide To SA which grossed R76 million at the local box office. Yerrrrrr!
Thus far the highly publicised Happiness Is The Four Letter Word sits at around R11 million, making it the highest grossing "black" film of all time. I know, a Schuster film can also be classified as a "black" film but you get my drift. Ok let just say; BLACK DIRECTED FILM.
Unfortunately Happiness' R11mil is a far cry from Schuster's numbers and sadly it is even low for a second place, which is currently held by the Afrikaans film Vir Altyd. The Afrikaan drama film debuted with impressive numbers on February 12th 2016 with about R4.4mil first week earnings.
Despite what you may have read, Happiness was still lower than Vir Altyd as you can glean from the numbers. Vir Altyd remains the highest grossing non-Schuster film of all time with current earnings of a staggering R14 million in the bank.
The race is not over yet but it is highly unlikely that Happiness can bridge the R3mil gap between itself and Vir Altyd. The only chance Happiness has to make more money is with DVDs, which generally don't bring in much money these days since Torrent.
Regardless, investors on Happiness Is A Four Letter Word have a lot to celebrate. The industry also can rest easy knowing that, it is possible to pull big ticket sales with the right film and publicity behind it. Happiness was shot right. the production was of international standards and the audiences rewarded that quality with their cash —great lesson there for other local film makers.