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'Superheroes' losing power over audiences

Kapoww!!! Atoi the Ajaib Boy is the year's most expensive flop. -NST

Sat, Jul 03, 2010
New Straits Times

MALAYSIA'S latest superhero movie, Kapoww!!! Atoi the Ajaib Boy was D.O.A when it opened in cinemas two weeks ago.

The film, produced by Tayangan Unggul Sdn Bhd, features not one but a family of superheroes who fight crime.

Made on a RM2 million (S$0.86 million) budget, the film, directed by Azizi Chunk Adnan, collected a measly RM150,000 in its first week. The film has made less than RM300,000 since and it is the year's most expensive flop.

With a star-studded cast including Zizan Raja Lawak, Afdlin Shauki, Awie, Harun Salim Bachik and Lisa Surihani, it was a wonder why the film tanked.

Is the World Cup fever the reason movie-goers ditched the film?

The answer is "No" because two other local movies, Lagenda Budak Setan and Kecoh Betul, made more than RM4 million and RM2 million respectively.

Is the superhero fever over?

Probably, because even in Hollywood moviegoers' interest in superhero movies has diminished.

Kick-Ass starring Nicholas Cage tanked while Iron Man 2 failed to match the success of the original movie.

Kapoww!!! Atoi the Ajaib Boy is the fourth local superhero movie.

The first two were Cicakman (2006) and its sequel Cicakman 2 Planet Hitam (2008) produced by KRU Studios. The third was Antoo Fighter Amukan Drakulat (2008) produced by Grand Brilliance Sdn Bhd.

The most successful was Cicakman. It collected RM5.15 million. Cicakman 2 made RM2.85 million while Antoo Fighters made RM2 million.

Both Cicakman films were directed by Yusry Abdul Halim while Antoo Fighter was directed by Azizi Chunk Adnan.

No thanks to their gargantuan price-tags, Cicakman 2 and Antoo Fighter were not profitable.

And in the case of Kapoww!!! Atoi the Ajaib Boy, its puny box office collection would have closed down most film studios.

Luckily, Tayangan Unggul is a subsidiary of media giant Astro All Asia Networks.

In fact, the company had rushed the production of a 13-episode TV series based on the film.

Kapoww!!! the series was shown over Astro Ria two months before the film opened in cinemas.

Unfortunately, the series, too, failed to find an audience and became one of the channel's lowest rated programmes.

Kapoww!!! Atoi the Ajaib Boy's failure might spell the end of the superhero movie in Malaysia unless there is a film studio willing to take the risk and reinvent the genre.

Director Aziz M.Osman had early this year toyed with the idea of directing and producing Kluang Man, a live action version of the popular local cartoon series.

Nabil Raja Lawak was originally linked to the project but later pulled out when filming dates were postponed. To date, there is no news of the project.

KRU Studios did plan Cicakman as a trilogy but the poor response to Cicakman 2 forced the studio to put the third film on hold.

And with all the controversy surrounding Saiful Apek, who played the character of Cicakman in both films, the fate of Cicakman 3 is unknown.

- New Straits Times

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