A movie depicting the life of Nelson Mandela has become South Africa's highest grossing picture after its opening last week, as news emerged that the anti-apartheid icon passed away on Thursday.

The film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, has already earned about $427,000 US (Rand 4.4 million), according to Videovision Entertainment.

The movie stars British actor Idris Elba as Mandela, the 95-year-old liberation struggle icon. It's based on his autobiography with the same title.

The British-South African co-production opened just over a week ago in South Africa, followed by a limited engagement in New York and Los Angeles. Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, attended the film's U.K. premiere, this year's Royal Film Performance, today. The film, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, opens in Canada on Christmas Day.

"I visited a few cinemas over the weekend and experienced the emotional response to the film with audiences leaving the cinemas completely satisfied," said producer Anant Singh. "For me as a filmmaker, this is really fulfilling."

The movie traces Mandela's life from his childhood in a remote rural part of South Africa, through his years struggling against apartheid, to his 27 years imprisonment and his election as the country's first black president in 1994.