Why do you think most Nollywood movies don’t stay long in cinemas?
The Nigerian cinema has presented us with movies like "Beyond Blood," "Affairs of the Heart," "Suru L'ere, " "Just Not Married," "ATM," "The Novelist," "Wives on Strike," "Entreat," "Fusion," "Stalker" among others.
As boring as I think "Allegiant" is, the movie still found a way to stay longer than most of the above mentioned Nollywood movies.
I have realized that most Nigerian movies don’t stay past three weeks in the cinemas, while movies like “Zootopia," "Kung Fu Panda," "Batman vs Superman," "Gods of Egypt" struggle to leave Nigerian cinemas.
For starters, it's a known fact that every unsuccessful movie doesn’t get to stay long in the cinema. So, I should be focusing on why Nigerian movies are unsuccessful in the cinema, leading to their short stay.
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These days, a lot is required on a filmmaker’s part to ensure how long his or her movie stays in the cinema. Gone are the days of just shooting, tweeting behind the scenes photos, and releasing a movie in the cinemas without proper promotion.
Biyi Bandele’s “Fifty” completed a remarkable 4-month cinema run in Nigeria. Omoni Oboli’s “Wives on Strike” is currently in its 5th week, but has grossed over 50 million naira, and that is a perfect example of successful Nollywood movies.
Mildred Okwo and the "Suru Lére" cast also put in a lot of hard work into making sure cinema goers in Lagos saw their movie.
Omoni Oboli and the co-cast of her latest movie have visited over seven states and cinemas to interact with fans and publicize the movie. Oboli and her gang found a way to get both Nollywood fans and anti-Nollywood clique interested and tweeting about the movie.
Probably most Nollywood practitioners should learn one or two things about promoting their movies outside Lagos Nigeria. Most of hardcore Nollywood fans reside outside Lagos, and also need to be informed about the movie.
While "Wives on Strike" has the perfect cast every true Nollywood fan can relate with, Omoni took her promotion game from 0-100, and it's paying off.
Considering the opinion of most Nigerians about Nollywood, it would take a lot of extra hard work and publicity to get people talking and going to the cinema to see your movie. It’s ok to send BCs and visit all the media houses in Lagos, but it’s also important to go the extra mile.
Most Nigerians have the mindset that a Nollywood movie isn’t worth seeing in the cinema. They rather battle the city traffic for “Captain America; Civil War,” than the most talked about Nollywood movie.
Also, most Nigerians consider cinema to be for the elite, and you probably wouldn’t blame them. It’s still a luxury a higher percentage of Nigerians can’t afford. There’s also an alternative for a Nigerian to simply wait for the DVD release of a movie, and watch in the comfort of his or her home.
Sadly, the dwindling economic condition of the country isn’t helping the cinema culture of Nigerians. Considering that there are not enough cinemas in the country, transportation and viewing fee are enough to discourage an average Nigerian from visiting a cinema for a Nollywood movie.
Let's not even talk about the fact that most Nigerians consider themselves too busy to make out time for a Nollywood movie date. There are enough factors in Nigeria capable of preventing one from going to the cinema.
A colleague of mine was recently in the cinema to see a movie, which she described as a ‘boring home video not worth watching for a second time.’
Some Nollywood movies which make it to the cinemas are monotonous, and not worth being in the cinema. Not every movie should make it to the cinema.
In a recent interview with Pulse Nigeria, Joke Silva spoke on span of Nollywood movies in Nigeria saying “Is it the publicity that is done to make people aware, and is it the quality of what is done as well? Now, the mindset is 'why do I need to go and watch a Nigerian movie that I'm going to watch on television in the next couple of days?”
Another renowned filmmaker Tope Oshin said; “We need to find a way to bring people back into believing in Nigerian films in the cinema. When people go to the cinema, they basically want an experience, they want magic, they want to be entertained, they want to shut everything out and get into that world without interference."
People need to know that the movie they are paying for is worth their time and money. Nobody is interested in going to the cinemas for a mediocre story they cannot relate with, and a shallow plot.
In these days of social media, everyone is a movie ‘critique,’ and has the platform to discourage people from seeing a particular movie.
According to “Suru L’ere” director, Mildred Okwo, a good movie can be yanked off the viewing list as a result of a bad relationship with the operator.
Who will leave his or her office to go see a movie by 2pm? - No one! How then will a movie seen by nobody do well enough to remain in the cinema?
It’s totally impossible to schedule movies at times like 10am and 2pm, and expect Nigerians who are working hard to make ends meet, watch it.
The below movie "The Novelist" is currently in its third week, and it's set to screen at 2.50pm. For starters, it's a movie that wasn't promoted before and even after its release.
Let's all assume a Bayray McNwizu fan decides to go see a movie featuring her favourite, the 2.50pm scheduling is enough restriction, and if the movie were to make over 10 million naira, it would probably make half of that.