Malaysia’s highest grossing film is a lesson in virality

There may be some learnings for marketers with the latest box office sensation to sweep Malaysia: Hantu Kak Limah. 

Produced by Infinitus Entertainment and Astro Shaw, the film is the fourth one set in the fictional village of Kampung Pisang and is the third offering in the Hantu Kak Limah trilogy.

Infinitus Entertainment was founded by Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau and Datuk Seri Robin Tan. 

Hantu Kak Limah officially became Malaysia’s highest grossing film of all time with RM20.5 million in ticket sales in 11 days as I am writing this, and is slated to hit RM30 million as you read this.

The film directed by Mamat Khalid is ahead of the previous record holder Abang Long Fadil 2 (RM18.15 million).

Interestingly, Datuk Lat ‘Kampung Boy’ and Mamat are siblings. 

Executive producer Gayatri Pillai said the movie only cost about RM1.8mil to make, which is amazing considering how they hit the right pulse as popular culture is evolving fast with the new political landscape.

The cast is varied from Awie (of Wings fame), Delimawati, Rab Khalid, TJ Isa, Sharwani and Zul Ariffin to Uqasha Penrose and Ropie. 

The film opens with Kak Limah moving into a new home after getting married to a younger man.

Not long after, she is found dead and her spirit begins to terrorise the inhabitants of Kampung Pisang.

Since then, her ghost is spotted around Kampung Pisang, making the villagers restless. 

With a heady dose of slapstick, social criticism, inside jokes, satire, sexual innuendoes and Malay 80’s rock ballads, this movie breaks the Fourth Wall and even reminisces the lyrics from the Joy drink advertisement in the 80s. 

Producers and distributors Astro Shaw and Infinitus are stumped by the success as the movie becomes part of the national discourse: a dream situation for any marketer.

An amazing strategy that paid off was a free viewing of 23 minutes of the film on YouTube, defying the whole concept of movie trailers!

The social universe is abuzz, tabloids are going to town with the hit and crowds keep flocking as if they have been starved of good entertainment for years.

One thing is for sure: Malaysians love comedy and horror.

Hantu Kak Limah’s comedy of errors is a perfect recipe for virality.The movie is the Zeitgeist of our times. Respect.

By the Turbanned Stranger

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