JOHANNESBURG — The Brazilian film “Central Station” has enjoyed the biggest-ever opening weekend for a foreign-language film in South Africa, scooping 45,947 rand ($7,532) when it opened with just two prints on July 30.
In its first week, “Central Station” reached the No. 14 spot on the national box office list with a gross of $13,273.
In its second weekend, movie did even better, pulling in $8,260.
The achievement was the more remarkable in that the Brazilian pic was up against major Hollywood movies such as “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” “Tarzan” and “Wild Wild West.”
Walter Gelderblom, a spokesman for distributor Ster Kinekor, said the art circuit in South Africa was currently “doing great” and that at one stage, “Elizabeth” was notching up higher returns per screen than “Phantom Menace.”
He believes that a special arthouse cinema 10-plex in Johannesburg and an eight-plex in Cape Town, both established by Ster Kinekor, the country’s largest distributor/exhibitor, are responsible for the blossoming art circuit.
“South African audiences are becoming more discerning and seem to really enjoy foreign movies,” Gelderblom said. “They don’t seem to mind the subtitles.”