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$100m pumped into SA gaming and content

Talent10 Holdings and the Industrial Development Corporation are investing heavily in South African entertainment.

South African entertainment has received a powerful boost with over $100m (almost R1.9-billion) invested in developing a new entertainment and gaming franchise.

Investment company Talent10 Holdings has made the commitment in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

As part of the venture, Talent10 Holdings secured the rights to and released a new action-thriller movie, Boy Kills World, alongside the development of the mobile and PC fighting game Super Dragon Punch Force 3. They have also greenlit an eight-part animated series that expands on some of the characters introduced in the game, further building out the franchise.

Boy Kills World, which was entirely funded, produced and filmed in South Africa under Nthibah Pictures, a subsidiary of Talent10 Holdings that acquired the rights to the movie in 2021, made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival, attracting worldwide attention. This led Lionsgate Films and Roadside Attractions signing on to distribute the film in the US.

“We identified an opportunity to provide longevity to our collective investment by creating an expanded universe of Boy Kills World that paves the way for future projects to be funded and produced in South Africa,” says Talent10 Holdings CEO Wayne Fitzjohn.

This substantial investment has already played a significant role in local job creation and economic development, solidifying South Africa’s position as a prominent, serious player in global film production.

Kagisho Bapela, sector lead for film and television finance at the IDC, says: “The IDC is responsible for investing in sectors of South Africa that show prominent growth potential, which this film and gaming franchise exemplify. This partnership not only supports the growth of the local entertainment industry but also fosters further job creation and economic growth in our country.”

Where gaming and film converge

Boy Kills World, directed by Moritz Mohr (of MaleficentMistress of Evil) and produced by Sam Raimi (of Evil Dead and Spider-Man fame) and Roy Lee (known for The GrudgeDeath Note and The Lego Movie), was released worldwide on 26 April 2024. The movie tells the story of Boy, played by Bill Skarsgård (IT, Eternals, John Wick: Chapter 4, Deadpool 2), who is deaf and mute with an extremely vivid imagination.

Starring alongside Skarsgård is an ensemble cast including Famke Janssen (X-Men, Hemlock Grove, Taken), Jessica Rothe (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon), South Africa’s Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium, Chappie), and Andrew Koji (Warrior, American Gods, Fast & Furious 6).

In Boy Kills World, when Boy’s family is tragically killed, he finds himself thrust into a dark world of vengeance. Guided by a mysterious shaman, he undergoes intense training, transforming into a lethal force driven by a thirst for revenge against those responsible for his loved ones’ deaths. Boy’s immersion in the Arcade Game “Super Dragon Punch Force 2” plays a significant role in shaping his psyche. Through the game, he develops an internal “voice,” fuelling his propensity for violence and providing an outlet for his pent-up emotions.

“Super Dragon Punch Force 2 is based on a fighting game that Talent Digital Art, our gaming subsidiary, has been developing since 2022. Integrating this game into our movie laid the foundation for the launch of our highly ambitious mobile game, Super Dragon Punch Force 3, which launched at Cape Town Comic-Con on 27 April 2024,” says Fitzjohn.

This convergence of gaming and film underscores South Africa’s appeal as a destination for international filmmakers. Its diverse landscapes, natural beauty, and the wealth of local talent in editing, production, and artistic fields have long attracted filmmakers, improving the country’s reputation as a premier hub for film making.

Investing in SA’s burgeoning gaming scene

Gaming has become a cultural phenomenon in South Africa, with the South Africa’s gaming and entertainment industry valued at $266-million (approx. R5-billion) and a staggering 26-million active gamers across various platforms – most commonly mobile phones.

According to Fitzjohn, South Africa offers exceptional value for money in terms of US dollar-based production costs, while maintaining a high-quality end-product for customers. 

“South Africa is definitely open to the international film industry,” he says. “Boy Kills World is anticipated to perform extremely well at the box office, which could signify a significant boost for South Africa’s entertainment industry. A successful film release would attract further investment and attention to the country’s film production capabilities.

“This would lead to more opportunities for local talent, increased tourism and heightened global recognition of South Africa as a hub for creative excellence. Additionally, it could foster partnerships with international studios and filmmakers, further propelling South Africa’s position as a prominent player in the global film market.”

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