The Continued Rise Of Malaysian Films
Will 2019 be the year of the Malaysian film?
We hope so, especially after a bumper 2018 for local productions, in which three movies – Hantu Kak Limah, Munafik 2 and Paskal The Movie – swooped past the RM30mil mark at the box-office, smashing the RM18mil record held by 2017’s Abang Long Fadil 2.
Aside from these hits, other films like One Two Jaga, Guang and Aquerat were well-made movies that did well in international festivals, deserving more attention. Is this a sign that Malaysian filmmaking is on the rise?
Certainly, production houses like Astro Shaw and Tayangan Unggul seem to be moving in the right direction.
Astro Shaw, in particular, co-produced Polis Evo 2, Hantu Kak Limah, and perennial favourite Chiu Keng Guan’s Think Big Big last year. In 2019, it’s producing its biggest international feature yet, an adaptation of Tan Tuan Eng’s The Garden Of Evening Mists, starring Lee Sinje.
There’s the possibility of another big hit from Chiu, who mentioned in a 2017 interview that he was working on a major film that’s an “even bigger production than (his 2016 hit) OlaBola”, though it’s not clear when that will be released.
On an individual level, Crazy Rich Asians leading man Henry Golding from looks set to continue his Hollywood rise with a couple of movies in 2019, including Last Christmas alongside Emilia Clarke.
Last Christmas will feature Michelle Yeoh, who’s also enjoying a purple patch of late. She’s been tapped to star in a Star Trek spin-off based on Emperor/Captain Philippa Georgiou, her character in Star Trek Discovery.
Walt Disney Studios looks set to continue its dominance of the international box-office, with a number of surefire hits schedule to premiere this year.
First out of the block is Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios’ first film with a solo female lead, which will set the hero up for her appearance in the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame, marking the end of an era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
We won’t need to wait long for the next phase of the MCU – Spider-Man: Far From Home will be out in 2019 on the heels of Endgame.
On the animation front, Frozen 2 and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 are ready to go head-to-head for the title of biggest animated movie of all-time. Meanwhile, Disney’s successful run of live-action remakes of its classic animated features is likely to continue with Tim Burton’s Dumbo and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King roaring into cinemas this summer.
And don’t forget Star Wars. JJ Abrams’ yet-untitled Star Wars Episode IX will attempt to revitalise the franchise after the disappointment of 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story.
TV Titans Do Battle
When it comes to the small screen, all eyes will be on the eighth and final season of Game Of Thrones when it comes out in April. Ending its run way before George RR Martin has even finished his books, it is set to be one of the biggest TV events of all time.
On the streaming side, look for things to get more competitive in the OTT (Over The Top) segment. Dimsum is looking to consolidate its position as the go-to channel for Asian content, and it’ll be interesting to see how current market leader Netflix deals with the impending roll-out of Disney+.
Not that Netflix is resting on its laurels, with a bigger push towards original content including the anticipated return of Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why, the final season of Orange Is The New Black, new comic adaptation The Umbrella Academy, and a new Ultraman anime series.