"The Wedding Party" and "Mr and Mrs 2" have taught us that it takes more than an A-List cast to ensure box office success.
"The Wedding Party" and "Mr and Mrs 2" have taught us that an A-List cast doesn't automatically equal box office success.
Casting is everything, but at the same time, it isn't. It's everything in respect to the fact that it is the first step towards getting the attention of an audience.
People respond appreciably to casting announcements that involve certain actors, and this suggests that casting play a role in the success of a movie.
However, casting is just one of the many factors that will determine the overall revenue generation of a movie.
A star-studded production can help open a movie in its first week in the cinema. Thousands would anticipate and flock to the cinema to see a movie featuring certain acts.
However, if other factors such as strong plot, marketing, direction and design don't come into play, the numbers gradually decline.
The box office success of "The Wedding Party" which is currently the highest grossing Nollywood movie suggests that MO Abudu is a bona fide box-office force.
The romantic comedy which came a year after her 2015 record-breaking production, "Fifty," had a lot going for it.
The movie features a strong ensemble, a hilarious script, and most importantly, it employed a marketing technique that maximized the film’s global potential.
The casting was done rightly - sometimes it's about featuring actors that suit a particular role.
Patience Ozokwor as Tinuade Coker wouldn't have been a bad choice, but, it was Sola Sobowale who gave Tinuade's character the needed charm that made her memorable.
She brought on her personal charisma, personified her dialogues, she simply owned the character.
On the other hand, there's "Mr and Mrs 2," a sequel to the 2012 movie of the same title which made its debut on Friday, April 21, 2017.
The movie premiered with little or no marketing on the part of the producers, who probably relied on the success and hype of the first movie to sell the latest one.
Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme and Akin Lewis' names couldn't save the movie from a disappointing cinema run.
Considering the success and hype of the first movie, a little marketing push would have earned the movie a favourable spot in cinemas, even till its sixth week.
One attribute that can't be taken away from Omoni Oboli is her marketing techniques. Oboli is probably one filmmaker who could make a D-List movie and still gross millions out of it.
Her latest star-studded production "Okafor's Law" made its debut on March 31, 2017, and it's still showing in cinemas nationwide in its 6th week.
There are numerous movies with star power which failed to do as well as you would expect. There's "Entreat," "Road to Yesterday," "Brother Jekwu," "Three Wise Men," "Mr and Mrs 2," "Thy Will be Done," "Desecration" and "93 Days."
These movies feature stars like Dakore Akande, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Sadiq Daba, Genevieve Nnaji, Mike Ezuruonye, Bimbo Akintola, RMD and Wole Ojo.
Considering the influence of these actors on the pop culture, one would have expected more. So, why did these movies have so little audience appeal?
AY Makun's "A Trip to Jamaica" grossed over 178 million naira while "93 Days" grossed 50 million naira - both movies feature an A-List cast.
Prior to 2014, Makun was known more in the comedy industry. However, in less than two years, he has become one of the industry’s substantial box office players with "30 Days in Atlanta" and "A Trip to Jamaica."
We all agree it isn't the plot, acting or direction that earn his movies top spots at the box office. Makun simpy understands the importance of pre-release and post-release promotion.
In 2016, before the release of "A Trip to Jamaica," the comedian held a novelty match featuring prominent Jamaican ex-national footballers and Nigeria footballers to create awareness.
It is, however, unfair to compare "A Trip to Jamaica" with "93 Days." Despite their potent cast, while the former is a comedy movie created to satisfy Nigerians' hunger for the comedy genre, the later is a poignant film that visualizes one of the saddest days in Nigeria.
That’s not to say a star can’t make a huge difference.
In the Nigerian film industry, it is almost impossible to break box office numbers with zero A-List or B-List cast.
A look at the highest-grossing Nollywood movies proves that while all movies featuring A-List actors don't always turn out to be financially successful, all the successful ones feature an A-List or B-List actor.
In Hollywood, the 2017 horror movie "Get Out" grossed $204.3 million against a production budget of $4.5 million without an A-List actor or director.
In Nollywood, we have had outstanding movies such as "Ojukokoro" and " Just Not Married" fail to set records despite their critical acclaim.
The above movies are good. They even worked hard in the marketing department. Yet...
What does this mean for young actors in Nigeria?
There are quite a number of good movies that failed to bring in expected financial returns but received positive reviews and festival screenings.
Movies like this steadily offer talented actors the exposure they need, and have created indispensable young successful actors like Adesua Etomi, Kehinde Bankole, Chacha Eke, Somkele Idhalama, Tope Tedela and OC Ukeje.
This year's most intriguing test of how much star power can matter to a movie comes when Genevieve Nnaji's directorial debut "Lion Heart" premieres later this year.
It would be interesting to follow the box office outcome of "Lion Heart" which unlike her previous production, "Road to Yesterday," boasts a super powerful cast.
There's also "Alter Ego," an upcoming by Moses Inwang which features Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Wale Ojo and Kunle Remi and is also Ekeinde's first movie in three years.
There's also "Isoken," a star-studded movie with Dakore Akande, Funke Akindele and Joseph Benjamin, which has been quite heavy on marketing.
These movies have the star power, so, let's see how well they do at the box office when they debut.
After all said and done, star power matters. But, as essential as it is, it's not enough to bring in the figures.
If all it took to be successful at the box office were an A-List cast, every star power fueled movie would be a hit.
A blend of A-List, C-List and Z-List cast alongside intense marketing is the most effective way to break box office records.