The global and local film industries have seen significant changes in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. Many local and international filmmakers have had to put a hold on premiering their films in theaters to give focus and space to resolve the current crisis.
Malaysian filmmakers are faced with the same dilemma for not being able to debut their films in cinemas during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the Conditional MCO.
Astro, along with National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), acknowledged this demand and swiftly sought a business continuity solution for the impacted big screen releases along with the local and regional producers alike.
Astro subsequently provided customers with a viable solution by premiering local films directly to consumers’ homes on Astro First. This has proven to be a positive game changer for the local film industry as first run films on Astro First have outperformed the majority of local films released theatrically in 2019.
A prime example would be ‘Syif Malam Raya’ which was released on Astro First during Raya and has garnered in excess of RM3million in 10 days of its release, a record achievement considering the restrictions during MCO.
Zakaria Abdul Hamid, FINAS Chairman said, “'Syif Malam Raya’s success on Astro First is a game changer and truly an exciting development for the Malaysian film industry. I would like to congratulate producers, Ray Theme Sdn Bhd and Astro Shaw for an innovative marketing campaign for the film. I hope to hear more of such success stories for Malaysian films premiering on pay-per-view platforms especially during this challenging period for the Malaysian film industry.”
Raja Jastina Raja Arshad, Vice President, Head of Astro Shaw and Nusantara, said, “More film producers are embracing Astro First, Malaysia’s largest home cinema, as the platform to premiere their latest releases.”
Following Mamat Khalid’s ‘
Manap Karaoke’ debut on 7 May, Astro First presented ‘
Syif Malam Raya’ on 21 May, a debut film by Ray Theme Sdn Bhd in time for Hari Raya, a crucial release window for the local film industry.
“We are very encouraged by the demand of both movies, which have generated good collections, and that ‘
Syif Malam Raya’
achieved RM3million within the first ten days. It has also been a hit on NJOI, a freemium TV service, topping the NJOI daily-buy chart over five days,” Jastina added.
Syif Malam Raya’ and ‘
Manap Karaoke’ are available on Astro First via linear TV and On Demand, for streaming on Astro GO, as well as on NJOI. Customers can look forward to two new films i.e. romance drama, ‘
Ada Apa Dengan Dosa’
and horror film, ‘
Town Mall’ on Astro First soon.