The Indonesian film industry saw soaring box-office numbers in 2016 that offer hope to the local film industry. As reported by SWA magazine, the Indonesian films increased its domestic market share by 13 per cent this year from 2015 to 33 per cent.
This isn’t surprising given the increased number of Indonesian movies released in the past few years. Indonesian movies are getting a wider audience in the country and feature popular stars while being produced by commercialised production houses and even independent ones.
For the first time, nine Indonesian movies attracted more than 1 million viewers each in 2016. This is a new record over the six films in 2006 that had the same number of viewers. Warkop DKI: Reborn, a reboot of a popular 1980s comedy franchise, succeeded in toppling Riri Riza's Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops) released in 2008.
The reboot cracked the all-time box-office record with a whooping Rp 205 billion, while the sequel to the legendary high-school romance Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2 racked up Rp 109 billion. Rudy Habibie, on other hand, claimed Rp 60 billion at the box office, although it scored low on number of viewers compared with its first movie Habibie Ainun released in 2012.
Here are the movies that made it into this year’s biggest box-office earners, based on data compiled by film review website filmindonesia.or.id and ticket-booking app BookMyShow.
1. Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 1
2. Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2
3. My Stupid Boss
4. Rudy Habibie
5. Koala Kumal
6. Comic 8: Casino Kings Part 2
7. ILY from 38,000 Ft
9. London Love Story
From the data given, we can conclude that comedy movies dominated the box office, which is a welcome change from the horror flicks of recent years. It also showed that reboots and sequels are still proven to work. Meanwhile, romantic movies are still a hot commodity, while action movies performed the lowest, but it’s not a sinking genre whatsoever.
Another analysis can give an easy forecast on the upcoming movie trends that will flood our theatres in this year and the years to follow. Comedy, while still dominating the box office, will see slower days once it hit its runtime. If not produced tastefully, comedy movies tend to recycle old gags and slapstick humour, which, after some time, get mundane and loses their appeal.
The thing to remember is that audiences crave new formulas and ideas. Elsewhere, audiences are known to be smarter and more selective when it comes to movies. It’s the producers’, directors’ and scriptwriters’ tasks to conjure up fresh movie ideas and not to depend on over-used tricks to repeat old movies’ success.
However, we are quite excited about several Indonesian movies in 2017, one of them being Kartini (scheduled for release in April 2017), which depicts the life of Indonesian national heroine Kartini and stars actress Dian Sastrowardoyo in the main role. Salawaku, which has premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival and Festival Film Indonesia in 2016, is another much-anticipated drama movie directed by Pritagita Arianegara and stars Karina Salim and Raihaanun.
The movie (scheduled for release in February 2017) depicts the lives of Salawaku and Saras against the backdrop of the gorgeous Maluku islands. Elsewhere, the return of Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss Part 2 is still on many viewers’ want lists. The sequel will see the return of the three stooges played by actors Vino G. Bastian, Tora Sudiro and Abimana Aryasatya and will be directed by Anggy Umbara.
Last year, Indonesia Tatler got the chance to sit and chat with Indonesian superstar Joe Taslim about his acting and the movie career, and he told us that the industry is facing an exciting period at the moment, but still lacks new talent to produce good movies. He confirmed about the surplus and the soaring box office numbers.
“This year  is probably the best year for our movie industry and has made working as an actor much more exciting. We have many rising stars from actors to writers and directors,” he told us. “Our homework right now is to keep on producing better movies by exploring more varied scripts and genres,” Joe said.