Earlier in the year, I took us on an exposition on few factors that determine success at the box office for Nollywood movies. In conclusion, we saw the tendencies to realize huge accomplishment in the growth and development of the sector and how much we could achieve when professionalism and creativity superpose on our journey to excellence.
Like we anticipated, several milestones have been crossed as we approach the end of the first half of the year. Records have been broken and made, production standards have been improved upon, accountability is gradually gaining acceptance, theatrical capacity is increasing and a lot more is happening. Therefore, I have deemed it expedient to communicate certain important facts that will aid our understanding of the rising trend in the sector and that help us see the possibilities of recording a breakthrough at the box office in 2016.
A STRONG EARLY START
Ever since the theatrical journey began for Nollywood movies, the industry’s highest grossing year at the box office has been the year 2014 with annual revenue surpassing an all-time four hundred million Naira. O yes! your thoughts are right…. Ayo Makun’s 30 Days in Atlanta made about 40% of that figure and disproved the belief that Nollywood movies are underdogs. I kept imagining what the result could have been if we had the kind of reception enjoyed by Hollywood movies in other countries. Imagine that 30 Days in Atlanta was showing across cinemas in the United Kingdom, United States of America, China, India, Kenya and South Africa…Perhaps, Hollywood might have had the need to create a different definition for the word “blockbuster”.
NIGERIA’S MOST SUCCESSFUL FILMS IN CINEMAS TILL DATE.
Nevertheless, it might interest you to know that there are realistic tendencies that the year 2016 may just break the jinx in annual box office revenue; taking into cognisance the mind blowing figures that have continuously rolled in. Films such as Fifty, Couple of days, Suru L’ere, Ghana Must Go, ATM and Wives on Strike have already summed up a whopping 200 million Naira with just half the year gone. Mo Abudu’s Fifty (though released in December 2015) spilled into 2016 and succeeded in rolling in about 85 million Naira, while Omoni Oboli’s Wives on Strike tops the year’s chart (so far) with 67 million Naira. With the second half pregnant with intriguing films such as Kunle Afolayan’s The CEO, the much anticipated ’76, The Arbitration, 93 Days, When Love Happens Again, The Wedding Party and of course Ayo Makun’s steaming A Trip to Jamaica, we can confidently anticipate a new dawn in Nollywood’s annual gross box office returns. In fact, those in the know are optimistic about a possible 800 million Naira in annual box office takings which even with the devaluation of the Naira will be close to $3 million.
Wives on Strike – 2016’s highest grossing film (so far) and Fifty – most succesful film in 2015
IMPROVEMENT IN QUALITY OF CONTENT AND AUDIENCE ACCEPTANCE
The reason for this growth can be attributed to an improvement in content delivery. Never in the history of modern cinema reign have we enjoyed a consistent flow of qualitative movies like in this year. Nollywood filmmakers have in no small way upped their game. We have seen better entertaining story lines, intelligent plots, timely release dates, professional casting etc… In one word – TREMENDOUS!
Looking at performance from a quantitative perspective, Nollywood is not doing bad either; they conspicuously hold 15 to 20% position of the total number of titles at the box office – Hollywood dominating the space with 75 to 80% and the rest (Bollywood, Chinese movies etc…) holding about 5%.
The improvement in figures this year also insinuates that Nollywood movies are beginning to gain acceptance by the Nigerian audience. Unlike what it used to be a few years ago, we have less people saying; “I don’t watch Nigerian films, I prefer Hollywood…” The situation used to be so bad that a notable Nollywood actor received some social media backlash from film lovers when he stated that Nigerians do not patronize Nollywood because “they love to live fake lives”. Truth being told, figures don’t lie – With a good and well-marketed content, you will definitely enjoy patronage.
Recently I have had people calling in to ask: “What Nollywood film do you have showing?” Others go to the extent of mentioning the particular Nollywood film they want to see. It tells me we are getting somewhere. I foresee a future when almost all people want to see in our cinemas areNollywood films. Don’t call me a prophet – If it happened in the music industry, who says it can’t happen in the film industry?
NEW CINEMA LOCATIONS
Another development that deserves commendation is the anticipated opening of new cinemas in different locations across the country. The end of 2015 saw us celebrating the birth of Silverbird Cinemas at Festac Lagos, FilmHouse Cinemas at Akure and Dugbe (Ibadan) and Genesis Deluxe Cinemas at Onikan , Lagos. These provided additional seating capacities that contributed tremendously to box office successes in 2015. With the opening of FilmHouse Cinemas Asaba at the beginning of the year, the industry anticipates the birth of the following cinemas before the end of the year – Genesis Deluxe Cinemas at Ajah (Lagos), Maryland (Lagos), and Owerri, FilmHouse Cinemas, Surulere (Extension) Benin and Calabar, Silverbird Cinemas at Jabbi Lake (Abuja) and the first IMAX Cinema in West Africa – Filmhouse IMAX at Lekki (Lagos). We are reliably informed that there are cinema spaces in the new Umuahia and Ota Malls set to open in a few months. This will bring the average screen per cinema location to 5.5 as against the current 4.5 we have.
The collective impact of an early strong start at the box office, additional capacities from soon to be opened cinemas and the acceptance by our audience makes me confident that we can indeed double our achievements (at the box office) in 2014. (Note that in 2014, the average screen per location was less than 4).
It is also important to note how the commercial success being enjoyed by Nollywood movies at the cinemas is driving up the value for films on ancillary and non-theatrical platforms such as online TV and in-flight entertainment. We will be taking a dive into all that when next you read from me…
Meanwhile, dear film lover, if you are yet to embrace this gracious trend, if you are yet to recognise the fact that Nollywood is rising, you now know better… While we keep our fingers crossed, enjoy Nollywood….
Jude Martins – Jude is a gifted writer, film critique and a public relations expert. His passion to articulate ideas date way back to his escapades as a young teenager; publishing His first article at age 13. He is committed to utilizing his prowess to inform, educate, inspire and communicate positivity to the society on topics relating to Entertainment, Politics and Inspirational thoughts. Jude is a Chartered Manager of the Nigeria Institute of Management and works with the Filmhouse Limited as an Operations Manager.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel – +234 (0) 8186671693, +234 (0) 8037332373
Moses Babatope – Moses is a Co-founder of FilmHouse Cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production. He serves as Group Executive Director for both companies and COO for FilmOne. For the last 15 years he has amassed a proven track record as a film distribution strategist, in the UK releasing Nigerian content under his Talking Drum Entertainment brand and in Nigeria running FilmOne. He is an Experienced Odeon/UCI Cinema Manager in the UK, a one-time judge at the prestigious Screen International Awards and an Executive Producer of When Love Happens, Lunch Time Heroes, Taxi Driver and the yet to be released When Love Happens Again and The Wedding Party alongside his business partners and co-founders; Kene Mkparu and Kene Okwuosa both of the Odeon School of Cinemas Operations Management.