The Tongayi Chirisa powered South African movie Love is a Four Letter Word raked in over two million rand when it debuted last weekend.
The film, which had an initial target of putting 40 000 bums on seats when it debuted in its first week, surpassed that figure in its first three days as it saw 45 000 attendances and gross box office receipts of R2 371 782.
What made the film’s achievement even more remarkable was that it managed to steal the thunder from Hollywood movies that were debuting over the same weekend.
The Thabang Moleya directed movie, which focuses on the fortunes of three women as they try to find love and success in the City of Gold, was the best performing film of all new releases over the weekend as it managed to beat international releases such as 13 Hours, Secret soldiers of Benghazi, Hail Caesar!, 50 Shades of Black and Trumbo.
The movie, one of Chirisa’s first forays into African cinema since his success in Hollywood in the last few years, is unique for being the first film adaptation of a book by a South African female author. The movie is based on an award winning book by the same name written by Cynthia Jele.
In an earlier interview with SABC’s Top Billing, Chirisa revealed that he felt good having to come back to South Africa, where he had a few roles before going to Hollywood, and helping make a movie that reflected a new and modern vision of the country.
“I am finally seeing the fruits of the hard work in my coming to Africa and doing a contemporary movie that reflects South Africa to the rest of the world. The people are going to love it,” he said.
Chirisa’s performance in the new movie received rave reviews, as he supposedly almost stole the show from some of the show’s more prominent female protagonists.
“The chemistry between Montsho and Zimbabwean actor Tongayi Chirisa is electric, with the marvellous Chirisa as Montsho’s on-screen fiancé threatening to steal a few scenes from her, especially in one pivotal fight scene,” wrote Sunday World.