BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
2016 is barely three months away from ending and so far, after what started out somewhat slowly, it is safe to say that this has been a good year for Nollywood.
Going by publicized box office records alone, it is turning out to be a far better Nigerian film year than 2015. That year’s highest grossing film, Mo Abudu‘s Fifty grossed N50 million. So far in 2016, three films have comfortably crossed that mark with one of them set to make double of that.
Fifty, Road to Yesterday, Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo, The First Lady, Tempting Fate and The Visit were the highest grossing films of 2015, making* N150.63 million between them. That is some N11 million short of the record-shattering N161 million grossed by AY Makun‘s 30 Days in Atlanta which has since held on to the record of the highest grossing film in Nollywood.
AY Makun also leads the pack in 2016 with his new film, A Trip to Jamaica having so far grossed N82 million after JUST ten days in the cinemas. According to figures released exclusively to TNS by FilmOne Distribution, the film has been playing in all 28 cinema locations across Nigeria.
According to Moses Babatope, the Group ED/COO FilmOne
Distribution, “Generally, there has been better performance in the box office by Nigerian films.”
This is reflected in the figures obtained by TNS.
1. A Trip to Jamaica – N82m (figure in 10 days only)
2. Wives on Strike – N67m
3. The CEO – N60m (includes figures from Ghana)
4. FIFTY – N44m (January to March 2016 only)
5. Ghana Must Go – N32m
Bovi’s It’s Her Day is believed to be another box office success story even though official figures were not available as at the time of this report. The N44 million made by Fifty this year adds to the N50 million it made during the closing part of 2015. N94 million is not a bad figure
The projection with A Trip to Jamaica is that it is on course to take over the number one spot from 30 Days in Atlanta within the next two weeks of its stay in the cinemas across Nigeria as it looks set to continue to screen to sold-out audience. By October 25, TNS projects that the film would have made at least N130 million which is about N31 million shy of the record it is looking to break.
Stakeholders in the industry have described this development as a welcome one, saying that this will give way to more opportunities for the industry. AMVCA-winning actor, Tope Tedela said, “It is good to have these kinds of positive developments where people can recoup their investments because no one just wants to act and make a film, at least we also want finances that can make a solid foundation. So, yeah, I’m happy.”
“AY has over the years created a brand with which he now promotes his content. He has that likability and he has the platform,” filmmaker, Olu Yomi Ososanya highlighted before continuing, “Now, the cinemas can see that Nigerian films can do big numbers and they will now see that giving him a favourable slot also helped.” A Trip to Jamaica screens an average of 4 times across cinemas.
Producer, director and writer, Tope Oshin whose documentary, Amaka’s Kin is making its debut at the BFI film festival in London said, “This is definitely EXCITING news! It’s just my hope that we can grow our cinema audience to the point where this kind of box office successes will soon be possible for films of other genres as well.”
Part of a report by Jude Martins, a film critic and public relations expert as well as Moses Babatope and published by TNS reads, “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.“
While the N800 million box office takings projection might not seem feasible any longer this year, other highly anticipated releases scheduled for later this year make 2016 a better year than 2015 by more than a mile.
So far so good, 2016.
*according to figures released by FilmOne Distribution.