BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
While they weren’t exactly in a battle for who owned the Nigerian cinema, media mogul, Mo Abudu and star Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji both had big statements to make in 2015.
One was dipping a leg – no, both legs in the increasingly attractive waters of Nollywood. The other was staging a return, as an actress, as well as a debut as a movie producer. So, it comes as no surprise that many people saw it as a silent battle. Whose film would perform better in cinemas? Abudu had in her armoury, the full disposal of her pan-African television channel, EbonyLife TV. Ms. Nnaji had her name, her industry contacts and her
Mo Abudu gathered the stars, Genevieve Nnaji decided to go with the lesser-knowns (as evident in her choice of director and male lead in Ishaya Bako and Oris Erhuero, respectively). Several Nollywood insiders say, in whispers of course, that Genevieve’s choice was informed by her “dislike for being told what to do.”
The first leg of the “battle” commenced at their respective premieres. While Mo Abudu successfully made Fifty‘s premiere the talk of the town with the evident ease with which she shut down Lagos, Genevieve did an absolutely stunning job of shooting herself in the foot with her AFRIFF closing gaffe on the night that she ushered Road to Yesterday into the cinema.
Now, that shouldn’t count for much. And of course, it didn’t.
Both films were released under the FilmOne Distribution platform, and according to figures released exclusively to TNS, by the close of 2015, Mo Abudu’s Fifty had ammassed a whooping (by Nigerian cinema standards) N50 million followed by – in some distance – Genevieve Nnaji’s Road to Yesterday.
So, Mo’s aggresive publicity style paid of in the box office numbers. Mo, apart from the noise created on social media, gathered some of her lead stars, went round cinemas and interacted with the public. Genevieve didn’t do much, aside a few photo shoots. She felt her name would sell the movie. The Nollywood audience mentality is changing. Aunty Gene didn’t seem to notice that. Gone are the days when you sold movies by plastering the faces of Ramsey Nouah or Muhammadu Buhari on posters.
According to a full report to be released on TNS at the end of the week, below is the full list of top ten most successful films at the box office in 2015:
- Fifty – N50m
- Road to Yesterday – N30m
- Taxi Driver – N22.6m
- The First Lady – N19m
- Tempting Fate – N15m
- The Visit – N14m
- Dazzling Mirage – N13m
- Iyore – N9.5m
- Out of Luck – N9m
- Gone Too Far – N8.5m
*All figures provided by FilmOne.