Deon Meyer action movie makes Netflix history


The local action film Heart of the Hunter has barely been on Netflix for a week and has already made history as the first film from Africa to grace the top of the streaming service’s list of the most watched English-language films in more than 75 countries.

In addition, it has already grabbed more than 11 million views worldwide on this streaming service.

Heart of the Hunter is based on author Deon Meyer’s book Proteus and tells the story of Zuko Khumalo (played by Bonko Khoza) who is being chased by the Presidential Intelligence Agency because of his alleged knowledge about a presidential candidate.

Actors such as Tim Theron, Deon Coetzee, Milan Murray and Connie Ferguson from Isidingofame can be seen in it, with Mandla Dube as director.

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A post shared by Tim Theron (@timtheron)

“You don’t always know what to expect, but to see those numbers in black and white and to know that we are number one makes you want to jump out of your skin with excitement,” says Tim, who is also part of the team at Scene23 sat in the producer’s chair.

He says that over the past week, congratulations have been sent back and forth between the actors and production team with great excitement.

“It’s also Connie Ferguson, who is this incredible icon on her own soil, her first big lead role in a movie, and there it just becomes number one. For Deon as a writer, it is of course also nice to see how his stories in movie format hit abroad, especially in countries like the USA, where viewers are overwhelmed with a wealth of new content.”

Although criticism is inevitable, Tim says that viewer numbers like these reaffirm the power of recommendations by viewers.

“You can display your posters on big billboards along highways and pay influencers to market your movie, but at the end of the day, it means nothing if viewers tell each other that a movie isn’t worth watching.

“People also have to remember that unlike in the theater on something like Netflix, you don’t have to sit through the whole movie; you can easily switch to something else. If 11 million views in that context isn’t going to convince you, then I don’t know.”

According to Tim, the movie’s action scenes and acting in particular apparently exceeded viewers’ expectations.

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A post shared by Bonko Khoza (@bonkokhoza)

“What particularly stood out for me in the reactions on social media is that even the few people who didn’t necessarily enjoy the storyline were blown away by the quality of the movie, especially the action scenes – which is a greater art than many people might realize.

“I don’t think the world thought we had it in us to make movies like this in South Africa.”

According to Tim, the Heart of the Hunter-team’s pride beyond their own film.

“Of course our actors and production team are very proud, but it’s really about the fact that it’s time for the South African entertainment industry to be noticed internationally and get the opportunities we’ve been working for for so long.

“The hope is also that this will open the door wide for other local filmmakers, because we no longer have to back down to Hollywood for a long time.”