BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
OK. So a lot of us have seen the news. The Wedding Party 2 made about N73million in three days, according to the makers of the film. It was also reported to have made N20million on the opening night.
A lot of people have greeted these figures with awe, shock or disbelief while some have scorned those figures. I have also been accosted by people who want me to tell them if those figures are accurate, slightly inflated or really exaggerated. Well, in truth, neither can I or TNS tell you, with facts that those figures are true or false.
First before I do a little breakdown of how these things tend to work in Nigeria, let’s put these figures in context.
TWENTY MILLION IN DAY ONE:
Genevieve Nnaji’s Road to Yesterday and Kunle Afolayan’s Figurine reportedly made thirty million Naira respectively after their cinema runs. Road to Yesterday is a 2015 film while Afolayan made Figurine in 2009. Two other 2015 movies, Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo and The First Lady only made N22.6m and N19m respectively for all the time they stayed in the cinemas.
SEVENTY-THREE MILLION IN THREE DAYS:
Only FIVE films in recorded Nollywood cinema history have made more than that figure even in their entire runs – The Wedding Party, A Trip to Jamaica, 10 Days in Sun City, Fifty and Okafor’s Law. Remember also, these figures haven’t been independently verified.
TODAY, Mo Abudu claimed that the TWP2 has made N100m in 5 days. That means only TWP1 (N453m), A Trip to Jamaica (N178.5m) and 10 Days in Sun City (N177m) made more money than this Wedding Party installment has made in FIVE DAYS.
This latest figure from Mo Abudu means that we are on course to not only witness a shattering of the record currently held by its predecessor but also see it break into the billion Naira mark.
Now, is it possible for TWP2 to have made 100m in five days? It is. Has it REALLY made that much money? I doubt it. But, truth is, I have no facts to back up my doubt.
However, notice how Mo Abudu’s announcements have tried to avoid saying those figures were made IN THE CINEMAS. Here’s why that is a very wise move. You see, apart from the regular cinema where you go to, get a ticket and join the queue to watch a film, films like TWP especially with its hype and bourgeois leaning, do not depend on that alone for their money. And I am not even talking about VOD or TV showings.
Between the time the film was released in cinemas and now, there is a huge possibility that the film has had several private screenings. Private screenings are done for those rich enough to afford them and are only attended by the family members, friends or colleagues of those who pay for them. So instead of these very rich folks to join the queues at the cinemas, they pay for a private screening of the film. For some of them, those screenings do not even take place in cinema houses.
Apart from this, there are also in-flight screenings in public aircrafts and the private ones. So far, TWP2 hasn’t announced any such deals but don’t expect to hear about the screenings done in private aircrafts. These screenings also come with a much bigger price than the two thousand five hundred many of us pay to see films in the cinemas.
Coming back to the cinemas, many outlets have effected an almost 100% increase in their ticket prices. Silverbird Cinemas, Ikeja, for example, now charge a flat rate of N2,500 for a ticket. In Lekki, people are seeing this film for N4,000. That’s way more, almost double in some cases, than the price of tickets for the first wedding party film this time last year. At the beginning of 2017, there were 135 screens in Nigeria. This figure has since grown of course. Then, cinema hall sizes also vary from one location to another.
So, before we jump up and say every Nigerian has headed to the cinema to watch this film, The above are the things that should be considered.
The Wedding Party 2 was released in about 8 African countries on December 15. Have the producers added this figure to the figures being reported? It is possible.
Another thing that should be noted in the case of The Wedding Party franchise is that FilmOne, the distribution outlet responsible for giving out cinema figures are co-producers of the film. This makes it even more difficult to independently verify the figures being put out.
However, whether TWP has raked in this much money or not, there are numerous lessons in marketing that can be learnt from EbonyLife and friends. But, even in that, let’s also not forget that the budget available to them might not be available to other Nollywood producers.