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No ‘Black Panther’ film yet at The Underground

The Underground at Chichiri Shopping Mall in Blantyre, which screens movies and wants to revive good old days of the cinema culture, has said they will continue to screen different films on their big screen.

Asked when Black Panther, which is the talk of town, will hit their place, the owners were non-committal for now.

The film, which stars among other people, Kenya’s actress Lupita Nyong’o is the most talked about movie at the moment.

The movie is screening in cinemas but there is nothing for Malawi yet.

Some people have gone to town on social media, indicating that some Malawians have organised road trips to watch Black Panther in Zambia.

“Meanwhile in countries such as Malawi people have organised road trips to go see Black Panther in Zambia. It’s 2018 a whole country still doesn’t have a cinema,” tweeted Alexis S.

But The Underground proprietor, Sunduzwayo Jere, said Zambia has Sterkinekor among other players.

“Sterkinekor is the cinema giant in Africa so they have the first mover advantage through their network including sustainable economies of scale,” Jere said.

He added that Zambia kwacha’s exchange rate to the US dollar is just around 10 Zambian kwachas.

‘Compare that to our 730 Malawi kwacha to the US dollar. That rate weighs heavy in cinema and that is why international cinema giants shun Malawi,” Jere said.

He observed that movie houses in Zambia open seven days a week because they have a large pool of clients unlike in Malawi.

“Let us accept it that Zambia is ahead of Malawi even in terms of infrastructure,” Jere said.

Before Jere moved in with The Underground, formerly M-Theatres, there used to be Cine Cinema who decided to close shop after experiencing challenges with patronage.

In the 1970s and 80s, the country was on top when it came to cinema and had such names as Apollo.

“We are trying our level best to bring back this culture but it is difficult with the economy. There is lack of disposable income at the moment and cinema is a luxury,” he said.

Jere did not rule out that Black Panther would screen at the venue.

“We did the same with the last James Bond movie and screened it. So, people should just watch the space,” he said.

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

According to Wikipedia, in the film, after the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king.

And when a powerful enemy suddenly re-appears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and as Black Panther—gets tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Jere has since said that, as a token of appreciation to their clients, they have reduced ticket prices for the month of March with K2,500 for adults from K4,000 and K 2,000 for children from K3,000.

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