THE latest collaboration between Red Films, Marna Films and Grand Brilliance, Rembat, will not be hitting television screens anytime soon. Currently playing in cinemas, Rembat has chosen to forego popular pay-per-view platform Astro First once it completes two weeks at the cinema.
“It was a business decision on the producers part,” explained Rembat director Shamyl Othman, “Grand Brilliance being distributors — and actually coming from the TV platform — are sending the film to HyppTV.”
According to Shamyl, this route will eventually bring the film to Media Prima television channels.
His last film, Kami Histeria, was a collaboration between Red Films, Marna Films and Astro Shaw. It reached Astro First after running for two weeks, but spent a total of four weeks in cinemas.
“Astro First is sort of a good thing for producers because they get to make extra sales from their films, so I guess it’s still in favour of the producer in a way,” Shamyl added.
“The downside is that it hurts cinema attendance.”
Astro First is a highly-successful television service which has caused quiet dissent over its effect on the local box office.
It offers latest films (from as early as two weeks after release) at only RM15 for a period of 48 hours, with 12 different viewing times for each movie.
When it first debuted, current Astro Chief Operating Officer Henry Tan stated that producer perception of Astro First was highly positive.
“Before reaching an agreement, we have discussed with all the producers and most of them believe that Astro First will be a ‘saviour’. Besides that, we have carried out a survey and are convinced that the ticket sales will not decrease,” Tan mentioned in January 2011.
Seven months passed before The New Straits Times in August 2011 reported that box office figures have dropped ever since the implementation of Astro First. The article has since been removed from public view.
The same week, social news network Rotikaya stated that the flat RM15 fee was irresistable for families especially during unstable economic times. The site also believed that Astro First provides DVD pirates access to local films too soon after cinematic release.
Osman Ali’s latest effort Jwanita — released on the 24th of September — has already found its way to the platform, joining the likes of historical sci-fi Kapsul, war movie Bravo V, and football film Jejak Warriors.