mandela-movie-posterJust ahead of its U.S. bow today, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom has set a record in South Africa where it opened on Thursday — and where moviegoers reportedly took the day off work to attend screenings in cities and in the countryside. The Videovision Entertainment release (through United International Pictures) was No. 1 at the box office with 751,000 rands ($73,747) for a per-screen average of 8,620 rands ($858). That’s about 23,000 admissions and is a record for a non-holiday Thursday according to Videovision. Starring Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom chronicles Nelson Mandela’s journey from his childhood in rural South Africa to his inauguration as the country’s first democratically elected president. The Weinstein Co releases the film today in New York and Los Angeles.

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