While most filmmakers solely rely on a 'good story' to sell a movie, AY Makun, Omoni Oboli employ smart marketing techniques to break box office records.
Unlike Hollywood where there are big studios available and interested in investing in marketing campaigns and publicity for a movie, an average Nigerian filmmaker is expected to produce, direct, and also figure out how to sell a film in order to make their money back.
In Nigeria, you don't just lay back and watch people flock to cinemas to #SupportNollywood. You make a movie, do a good chunk of the marketing and publicity, sell the movie, and make your money.
These days in Nollywood, a movie does not only need to have the best plot and production to sell. It needs hard work and determination to sell and break box office numbers.
Say what we want about AY Makun and Omoni Oboli, these filmmakers have employed smart marketing techniques that a lot of filmmakers can learn from. They have not only understood their target audience, they have also utilized every offline and online marketing medium. Oboli and Makun are two filmmakers who understand the importance of pre-release and post-release promotion.
To create awareness and excitement for his movie "A Trip to Jamaica," AY Makun held a novelty match featuring prominent Jamaican ex national footballers such as Deon Burton John, Lawrence James Hubert, and Kevin Lisbie. It also featured Nigeria footballers such as Kanu Nwankwo, Jay Jay Okocha, Peter Rufai, Joseph Yobo, Mutiu Adepoju, Victor Ikpeba, and Ghanaian’s Stephen Appiah.
The football game which held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere Lagos, was also televised live on Hip TV - you either hear about it online, on Television, or as a passer-by. On September 25, 2016, the movie premiered at the Filmhouse IMAX cinema in Lekki, Lagos. A star-studded affair, the lead cast, Makun and Funke Akindele, made a grand entrance to the black carpet in a Lamborghini. Now, not everyone can afford the luxury of a Lamborghini, but everyone can afford to come up with a creative premiere, worth remembering.
Following the release of the movie, Makun is currently on a cinema tour to meet with his fans, convince a Nigerian who doesn't watch Nollywood movies to see his new movie, sell tickets and see the movie with them.
Following the above-mentioned marketing and publicity tactics, the movie "A Trip to Jamaica" has taken over from "Wives on Strike" as the highest grossing movie of 2016. According to several reports, the movie has grossed over 80 million naira, just 10 days after its release in cinemas.
Omoni Oboli's "Wives on Strike" was the highest grossing 2016 Nollywood movie with 67 million naira. The movie grossed over 15 million Naira in just three days of its release. Oboli didn't just release her movie with just high expectations and no action towards bringing in the big numbers. She created a pre-release buzz with the social media drama surrounding herself, Chioma Chukwuka, Ufuoma McDermott, Blessing Egbe and Uche Jombo.
She also released a press release explaining how her movie isn't a Spike Lee's "Chi-raq" rip-off. The above mentioned stunts made the movie a known one, even before its release. Following its release, Oboli alongside the cast and crew of her movie visited over 8 cities where "Wives on Strike" screened. They interacted with fans and also sold tickets.
Biyi Bandele's "Fifty" is the highest-grossing movie of 2015. The movie grossed 85 million naira after its four-month run in the cinema. A star-studded movie, "Fifty" not only created a pre-release buzz, the Ebonylife Films also encouraged a post-release hype by engaging the audience through their various social media campaigns, and 'meet and greet' featuring cast of the movie and the likes of Banky W.' They also ran a competition that gave millions of opportunities to win prizes including a trip to Mauritius, Kenya, London, Dubai, a brand new Mercedes Benz B class among others.
There have been lots of brilliant movies, which were not favoured in cinema simply because there was no hype surrounding it - nobody knew about them. They simply found their way in and were kicked out with a '10:pm" time schedule after they failed to do well.
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While some producers simply release a 'good movie' and await the Nigeria audience to simply discern how good it is from their homes and social media, the likes of Oboli, Makun, and Ebonylife Films release a 'good movie' and assist their audience to understand how 'good' their movies are.
High expectations and a 'good story' doesn't always set box office records in Nollywood. A lot of hard work and determination is needed to bring in the numbers.