Pretoria - In a sequel to the release of the South African romantic comedy My Zulu Wedding, filmed in 2017, its producers have to cough up the R1.73 million that was advanced to them to make the movie.
Brand Contract Consultants Ltd turned to the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, earlier this month to obtain a summary judgment against Luju Pictures and Productions as well as producer, writer and director of the film, Lineo Sekeleoane.
The respondents opposed the summary judgment application on the basis that all but one claim had lapsed.
They also denied liability for payment on the basis that the Covid-19 restrictions led to the unsuccessful launch of the movie.
The respondents alleged that it was a condition for the advance of the loan that the movie was successfully marketed at cinemas and theatres. That had not been possible because of the restrictions during the lockdown, they said.
The parties concluded an oral agreement under which Brand Contract Consultants advanced bridging finance to the respondents for the production of the movie.
Brand Contract stated that the respondents undertook to repay the money from time to time while awaiting the movie’s release, but that the full outstanding balance would be due on the movie’s release.
The respondents repaid R162 000 in August 2016 and R100 000 in September 2018.
Ster-Kinekor Entertainment released the movie in cinemas nationwide on October 11, 2019. It was originally set for release on February 23, 2018, but this was postponed.
The applicant told the court that the respondents made no further payments towards the loan and were thus in breach of the agreement.
The respondents admitted that the remaining amount was outstanding.
They, however, initially argued that the amount claimed was not due nor payable as the agreement stated that the film would need to be released locally and internationally.
Judge N Adam said it was common cause between the parties that the debt would become due on the movie’s release.
The respondents maintained that the debt would be due once the movie was released locally and internationally.
The judge said that under the circumstances, the debt would not be due for payment until the official release of the movie. Under the circumstances, the prescription defence did not assist the respondents, he said.
The defence raised by the respondents that their business was unsuccessful due to the restrictions emanating from the lockdown and that they were thus not liable to repay the loan, also did not hold water, the judge said.
It was not explained in the judgment exactly how the Covid-19 restrictions, according to the respondents, impacted on the release of the film.
The judge ordered that they had to repay the R1.73m, together with interest, starting from the time of the release of the film.
The movie, which starred Kelly Khumalo and Darin Henson, was filmed in South Africa, New York and Botswana.
The story is about a South African woman living in America and who discovers that she had been traditionally engaged since birth to a Zulu king.