Actor Idris Elba, left, and actress Naomie Harris, right, attend the New York premiere of "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom".

Johannesburg - Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom emerged as the highest grossing film in South Africa this past weekend, earning over R4 million, production company Videovision said on Monday.

The film outgrossed Leon Schuster's “Schuks! Your Country Needs You”, which earned R 3 635 876, said Videovision spokesman Nilesh Singh.

It performed better than some of the biggest studio films of the year at the opening weekend box office, including Hunger Games - Catching Fire, World War Z, The Wolverine and Hangover 3, Singh said.

The film, which was based on Nelson Mandela's Autobiography, was released on Thursday at the country's best performing cinema's.

These included the V&A in Cape Town to Gateway in Durban, The Zone (at) Rosebank in Johannesburg, Sterland in Pretoria and the Mall of the North in Polokwane.

Producer Anant Singh was “extremely pleased with the audience reaction”.

“I visited a few cinemas over the weekend and experienced the emotional response to the film with audiences leaving the cinemas completely satisfied. For me as a filmmaker, this is really fulfilling,” Singh said.

The film also opened in the United States on November 29, with exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles.

It earned the highest this past weekend there, with an average of US25 076 per screen.

The film stars British actor Idris Elba as Mandela, and British actress Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandikizela-Mandela. It also features local actors in the cast, including Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa and Terry Pheto.