KUALA LUMPUR The war in Iraq and the SARS epidemic may have led Malaysian crowds to find relevance in the end-of-the-world-is-nigh premise of Hollywood disaster movie “The Core.” Along with local production “Laila Isabella,” a slack March box office turned around with the opening of those two films in April.
Produced by Tayangan Unggul, a subsidiary of satellite service Astro, “Laila Isabella” is distributed by Golden Screen Cinemas and has already grossed RM2.2 million ($578,949) in just over two weeks, making it No. 1 at the Malaysian B.O. The romantic comedy starring Nasha Aziz, Rosyam Nor and Hans Isaac revolves around classic elements of undeclared feelings and mistaken identity.
Irving Chee, general manager of Golden Screen Cinemas, believes the popularity of the movie can be attributed to “the ever-popular Rosyam Nor and up-and-coming starlet Nasha Aziz. Also, the storyline is geared toward (and pulling in) a younger audience.”
Eleven locally made films were released in the territory last year; Irving estimates 18 will be released this year.
“The Core” has raked in $368,400 in just under two weeks and ranks at No. 2. Chee credits its results to the fondness of the Malaysian public for thrillers.