When was the last time you went to the cinema to watch a Nigerian movie? Most Nigerians would rather buy their 150 naira film by the roadside than spend 2000 on a Nollywood film in a cinema.
When was the last time you went to the cinema to see a Nollywood movie? Do you even watch Nollywood movies? – Alaba released or cinema movies?
The Nigerian cinema is doing well, for 2015, we have movies like "The Visit," "The First Lady," "Gbomo Gbomo Express," as proof, but we could do better.
I have realized that most Nigerian movies don’t stay past 2 or 3 weeks in the cinemas, while movies like “Avengers,” “Spectre” and the rest almost never leave the cinemas.
Do I blame the Cinemas for this? No. In as much as they want the industry to grow, they won’t pull Nigerians out of their houses to patronize a movie, and they run a business not a charity organization, they need to make their money.
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Why are Nigerians less receptive to the cinema era in Nollywood? Check out reasons why I think Nigerians are less interested in Nigerian Cinema era;
Absence of Cinema Culture.
The idea of going to the cinema to see a Nollywood movie is something that will take us time to get used to.
Nigerians are yet to get used to buying a 500 naira DVD copy of a Nollywood film, talk more of giving up their free time to sit in the cinema, spend over 2000 naira for a Nollywood film.
We are so used to our 100 – 150 CD movies. Hopefully we will soon get to the point where we decide to really spend money on a Nigerian movie.
Besides, how many cinemas do we have in Nigeria? Most of these movies are not accessible to the few who are really interested. (One of the reasons they get excited when Alaba boys do them the favour.)
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Low Standard movies
I stopped believing a long time ago that every movie in the cinema is a ‘top Notch one after watching Lisa Omorodion’s “First Cut,” Rukky Sanda’s ”Golddigging” (I can't get over how much this movie got on my nerves). Everyone can’t be a producer!! (Topic for another day).
I remember dragging a friend to the cinema to ‘support Nollywood,’ and after a disappointing and annoying waste of time, I felt so bad for doing that to us.
If only I took her to watch a movie like Omoni Oboli’s “Being Mrs Elliott,” or Yvonne Nelson’s “House of Gold,” maybe she would have something positive to say about how far Nollywood has come.
A colleague recently said to me “Nollywood has given us lots of low quality movies, and we have given up on them. I’m not interested in knowing how much they have grown.”
Nigerians prefer everything foreign
Deny it all we want, but somehow, we prefer foreign music, movies, arts, even accent to ours. How then do you convince a Nigerian who feels everything foreign is the main deal, to go to the cinemas to watch a Nigerian movie?
The industry is growing with lots of new talented actors emerging, but how many Nigerians In or especially outside Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja can proudly say they know these actors.
I think Deyemi Okanlawon, Adesua Etomi, Okey Uzoeshi and Tope Tedela are super talented, and by now should be known by most Nigerians.
Yes, they are known, but everything could be better. Have you watched these guys act? They make you fall in love with Nollywood.
But you would be surprised at that fact that more Nigerians are familiar with movies featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Redmayne among others.
Most of our filmmakers and actors are lazy. Yes… An over filtered set photo on Instagram, one interview with a media house, and everyone goes to sleep.
Most times you hear about a movie, head to Youtube to search for a trailer, and discover there’s none for the movie.
You google a movie online, and discover nothing about the movie. Please, remind me once again how that movie would be a "blockbuster."
Two weeks later, the movie gets premiered somewhere in Lagos or Abuja, and you ask yourself “How does that work?”
Even Hollywood and Bollywood’s low budget movies do have trailers online.
Also, who says you have to promote your movies only in Lagos and Abuja? A higher percentage of Nollywood fans exist outside Lagos and other major cities.
What about promoting movies in cities like Asaba? Lagosians almost don’t care about the thousands of movies released in the market (Cinema and otherwise.)\
We have had movies like Willis Uzo Ikedum's “Mummy Dearest,” Chika Ike’s “Miss Teacher,” and Genevieve Nnaji’s “Road to Yesterday” premiere in places like Enugu.
Nigerians are busy
Blame it on the country’s economy, but man must survive. Nigerians are too busy hustling to make ends meet.
Imagine telling a Nigerian who wakes up daily by 4am for work, gets home daily by 11pm, to use his or her extra time to see a Nigerian movie? “Can I please rest my head, and get enough sleep to see me through the next week?”
I know someone would ask “but they have time to see the likes of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and "Spectre?” Well, don’t forget we love foreign content.
Most Nigerians watch Hollywood films in the comfort of their home, thanks to torrent downloads.
Some Nigerians don’t even go to the cinemas at all, but they know all of Hollywood’s latest release, because they are accessible. (We are far from being there)
Accessibility of Nollywood movies online for free at this point, can only mean no profit on the side of the filmmakers and actors.
Besides, when did Nigerian cinema come into existence? Nigerians are used to buying their 200 movies by the roadside, and you suddenly want them to start trooping to the cinema to spend over 2000 naira for a Nollywood movie?
While it’s something possible, it’s also one that would take time, and would require lots of hard work on the part of Nigerian filmmakers.
Piracy has a large role to play in this. Let’s look at the case of Kunle Afolayan’s “October 1,” and Lancelot Imaseun’s “Adesuwa.”
These are beautiful movies that I really loved watching. I got to watch “Adesuwa” thanks to a friend who had it on her system, after buying a “DVD” copy of it by the roadside.
If the movie had finally made it to the cinemas, I would never for any reason strolled into a cinema hall to see it.
According to reports, “October 1” did well in the cinemas, but then it could have done much better if pirated copies hadn’t found its way to the streets of Lagos and other cities.
The truth is Nollywood is growing. Have you seen these 2015 movies “Gbomo Gbomo Express,” and “Taxi Driver?” There are still others to get excited about, the likes of “Out of Luck,” which has a very talented cast.
We should be happy about our growth, but we could do better. We could start with a better structure, more cinemas, and pushing our quality content and actors.
Hopefully, a day will come when Nigerians and some of our filmmakers will really really take Nollywood serious, as a source of income to individuals and also Nigeria as a country.