Apr 22, 2018 Last Updated 2:12 PM, Apr 20, 2018


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The country’s movie theatre business is attracting debate on social media as the Hollywood blockbuster movie Black Panther takes the world by storm.

The movie is already showing in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Tanzania but is yet to be shown in the country.

Proprietor of The Underground in Blantyre, Sundu Jere tells Capital FM that it is interesting the movie has sparked such debate locally.

The Underground which was formerly called M-theatres is the only movie theatre in Malawi.

“We are the only cinema in Malawi and we do not even have an international chain.

Most of the people making such noise do not understand how such a business works but there are a few people with positive comments who understand how the cinema industry works,” Jere said.

The proprietor went on further to say that most people have misconceptions of how cinemas work; the business is risky and requires a lot of investments so that one does not end up going out of business after realising that there is low patronage whenever a movie is showing.

When asked on when The Underground might screen the critically acclaimed movie, Jere said they will screen the film that when they see it profitably suitable to do so.

“People should not compare Malawian cinemas to that of Zambia or Tanzania because even our economies are very different, and they have demand so movie theatres even compete for customers.

We have a business to run and for us to make sure that our business is surviving, we will not act just because it’s one person that wants to watch Black Panther,” he added.

According to Jere they are being kept in business because of their loyal patrons that watch movies at The Underground every month, not that one person that wants a movie today but will not be around to watch another movie tomorrow.

Directed by Ryan Coogler, the Marvel movie Black Panther has broken box office records worldwide and already made over a billion dollars since its release last month.

It stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyo’ngo and Micheal B. Jordan.

Marvel's superhero film Black Panther has taken more than a billion US dollars (£794m) at cinemas worldwide.

It is the fifth movie based in Disney's Marvel Universe to hit the milestone.

The film stars Chadwick Boseman as the crime-fighting ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B Jordan and Daniel Kaluuya play key roles, with The Hobbit star Martin Freeman as CIA agent Everett Ross.

The film has been widely praised as game-changing - including by Michelle Obama - for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.

Box office analyst Jeff Bock told the New York Times: "I think about it like a wall crumbling. In terms of Black Panther, no studio can say again, 'Oh, black movies don't travel, overseas interest will be minimal.”

Based on Disney's estimate of ticket sales, the film passed the $1bn mark on the 26th day of its release.

Film information site IMDB says 32 movies have scored a box office billion, including 2012 James Bond offering Skyfall, the 2017 Beauty and the Beast reboot starring Emma Watson, and modern children's classic Frozen.

Earlier this week UK figures showed Black Panther was out-selling fellow superhero outings Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, after grossing £35.4m in three weeks.

Of the 18 Marvel films released to date, only two had made more money in the UK at a comparable stage - 2015's Avengers: Age Of Ultron (£40.4m) and 2012's The Avengers (£40.3m).

Signs of the film's success were good from the start - Black Panther more than doubled the amount it was predicted to take in the US and Canada over its opening weekend.

Last month, director Mr Coogler wrote a heartfelt letter thanking fans for their support.

"I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment." he wrote.

"Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong.

"Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you."

Patty Jenkins, the director who smashed records herself with 2017's Wonder Woman, shared her delight at Black Panther's "incredibly meaningful success".

While the debate on Chavura’s song was at the centre stage, the public wondered why another musician called Born Chriss was not being taken to task.

Born Chriss whose real name is James Kamthumba released a song early this year in which he directly attacked a female rapper called Kwin Bee.

In the song, the artist ridicules the female rapper, branding her as a prostitute who chases after men, including her fellow musicians.

His fate came last week when Kwin Bee, real name Bertha Lomoti went to Manase Police to report him to the authority for action.

It did not take long before Chriss saw the walls of the Manase Police custody where he spent almost a week.

On the 6th this month, the arrested musician appeared before Blantyre Magistrate Court where he was charged with a crime called insulting the modesty of a woman to which he pleaded guilty.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday when the artist was convicted with the offence.

In mitigation, the accused pleaded with the court saying he keeps his old mother who has High Blood Pressure condition, he is still schooling and he apologized saying he did the song out of childishness.

His mitigation factors convinced the Chief Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza to ask him if he can manage a punishment of doing community service of which the artist was ok with.

The judge then ruled that the artist should go through the Community Service office for an interview and if he passes the interview he will be doing community service in Blantyre Ndirande and if he fails, he will spend the next twelve months in prison.

Reacting to the judgement, the complainant Kwin Bee said she was very happy and satisfied with the ruling but expressed concern with a website which uploaded the song for download.

“I am satisfied with the judgement but these people should keep in mind that music is not only about “dissing”, the artist is not the only one to blame but also the producers of the song and of course those who uploaded it online (malawimusic.com) need to be sensible.”

Reacting to the accusation, the owner of Malawi Music website, Kenny Klips expressed ignorance on whether the song was indeed on the website.

He told Capital FM, that though Born Chriss claims the song carries the malawimusic.com tag, it may have been put there illegally.

In an earlier interview with Capital FM, a renowned radio DJ Joy Nathu said time has come for musicians to exercise care when doing songs.

He emphasised on the need for musicians to concentrate a lot on the lyrical content before being put out for public consumption.

Up and coming musicians in the Malawi are expected to get exposure in the industry following the launch of a new record label.

Under the banner Full Nation Entertainment (FNE), the record label seeks to give a stage to local musicians for them to showcase their talent and earn from it as well.

FNE, which has been operational for two years was officially launched in Lilongwe on Friday.

Musicians Lumionous, Pendo and Teddy Muva are currently the only artists signed under the label but management is expecting to sign as their journey continues.

President for Full Nation Entertainment Novahiwa Mjojo told Capital FM that the launch symbolises the beginning of a new era in the music industry.

“We want to discover new and raw talent and even people that haven’t been given the bigger platform and we are ready to complement, contribute and learn in our course of work,” Said Mjojo.

On his part, Luminous commended FNE for its work and believes he can offer his music better to the nation and the world in general as he is under the record label.

“In Malawi it is very hard for one to get signed under a record label and as it is now a privilege, I feel like the industry will get the missing piece of the puzzle.”

Chief Executive Officer for FNE, James Chirwa in the same vein highlighted the need for networking among people in the industry for it to grow.

Chirwa hinted that the label will flourish unlike other record labels when they continue networking with musicians, producers, videographers and the government.

The latest project by the record label is the release of a single titled ‘Set Me Free’ by Luminous featuring Pendo, the single was released on Monday. 

Hip Hop artist Chavura is expected to appear before court on Teusday to answer charges of producing obscene matters which is against section 179 of Malawi's penal code.

Chavura, whose real name is Mwiza Chavura, will appear before the Lilongwe Magistrates Court.

In December last year, Chavura released a song titled Nzakupanga Rape which ignited debate, with many people condemning it.

Organisations, the public and some artists described the song as a mockery to the modesty of a woman and that it was propagating sexual violence, specifically rape.

The artist admitted that the song was inappropriate and apologized to people.

He was arrested in Blantyre on Friday and he was later, on the same day transferred to Lilongwe for interrogation.

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