The Film Mat Kilau

Adib Noh
3 min readJul 9, 2022

The Story of a Malay warrior who fought against British Colonialism in Malaya

As a business project, making a film is a high-risk project. It costs RM8million to make the film Mat Kilau. This film started about four years but was delayed due to the COVID-19 movement Control Order. It was shown to the public beginning on 23rd July 2022 and today the gross collection has exceeded RM60million in seventeen days! The breakeven gross is about RM23million. It augurs well the growth of the creative industry in Malaysia. (it was formerly known as Malaya in 1962).

My discussion here is limited only to the film business project and not its historical contents, cinematography, acting etc.

Looking at the performances of Malay films in the last ten years, we have a few successes and failures. Millions of ringgit were lost and earned. What is the probability of making a profit based on the previous films? If I were an investor, the chance to break even is 50%. To get a 100% return on investment, I need to get gross ticket sales about 5 times the cost. Is it possible from previous experience? Yes!

Looking for a financial return point of view, I would invest in other business ventures with fewer risks albeit lower returns. A sum of RM8 million is a lot of money. But if the investors want to make a statement as well as send a message, it is worth doing and taking risks. From what I have read and watched the movie, the investors had made the right investment decision- with 200% ROI in the last 17 days. That is cool!

Making a movie is a project. It needs all the PMBOK- Project Management Body of Knowledge and Process Groups of Project Life Cycle to get the job done. To deliver the movie, you need a project champion (film producers) to lead and get all the necessary resources including project funding to make the movie. He must appoint the project manager or the film director. The film director must get the movie script done and assemble his team of actors and the filming crews. Last but not least, he must have his organisation and other third parties support his filming activities and marketing and showing the film when it is completed. All the activities may take two or three years depending on the size and complexities of the movie.

Building a bridge or a house is also a project. Every set of activities delivers a product like a door or column of the floor. It is physical and can be easily measured. In the case of making a movie, every set of activities will produce a strip of film which will be integrated to become a movie. It requires more directing, monitoring and control. More things can go wrong in making a movie than making a house. Hence the risks on quality, cost and time are higher.

If you are dreaming to make a movie, I suggest you start small by making a video with your mobile phone. You need to learn a lot before you can become a movie maker.



Adib Noh

Project & Business Consultant/Coach with more than 30 years of experience. I am an engineer,entrepreneur,writer and enjoy cycling and photography.