Festival favourite ‘Fly by Night’ not a hit with moviegoers, only limited screening after April 17

The film’s run in the cinema has been cut short, just seven days after its premiere. — Picture courtesy of Planet Films
The film’s run in the cinema has been cut short, just seven days after its premiere. — Picture courtesy of Planet Films

PETALING JAYA, April 16 — Viewers are calling Fly by Night the best Malaysian film in years.

But despite its critical acclaim, the crime thriller isn’t doing as well as expected in cinemas at home, a spokesperson from the movie’s production company Planet Films confirmed today.

As a result, the film’s run in the cinema has been cut short, just seven days after its premiere.

Tomorrow is the last day for moviegoers and curious viewers to catch the debut feature of Zahir Omar, an award-winning filmmaker who once worked with the late Yasmin Ahmad on her beloved film Sepet.

Zahir said the unexpected performance of the film won’t stop him from making more films when contacted by Malay Mail.

“The run may have been short but we still have a chance to catch it on the big screen. Don’t let this hinder us from doing more. Super proud of the actors cast and crew. They deserve a nod,” Zahir told Malay Mail.

Fly by Night shows that we can come together and be united in producing good films. We have to keep moving forward. I’m looking forward to doing more. Don’t stop believing.”

He also thanked those who supported and promoted the film.

Only three cinemas in the Klang Valley along with two cinemas in northern Malaysia and three in the south will continue to screen the film into its second week.

Since the film’s premiere on April 11, Malaysians who have watched the film have been raving about the dark, gritty tale of a group of petty criminals masquerading as taxi drivers, describing it as a step-up for the Malaysian film industry.

With its abrupt halt in theatres, fans are going all out on social media to encourage the public to watch the homegrown film.

Some have even gone the extra mile by giving out free tickets.

The film received Compulsory Screening status by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) which states that an approved film must be screened for 14 consecutive days but there are exclusions.

According to Finas, cinema operators can withdraw the film from further screening if the number of viewers after the first three days of screening are less than 15 per cent of the cinema hall’s seat numbers.

Starring Sunny Pang, Bront Palarae, Fabian Loo and Eric Chen, Fly by Night took several international film festivals by storm as early as last year, including the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival.

It will next compete at Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival.

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