Thursday, August 02, 2012

Nollywood Box Office Returns Will Be A Laughing Stock In Hollywood

So much noise has been made over the worth of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry and with many opportunists going gaga over the claims of Nollywood being the second or third largest movie industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood. But when compared to Bollywood and Hollywood, Nollywood is child's play in current box office ratings of films made in the world.

The highest grossing Nigerian film in Nigeria is Chineze Anyaene's IJÉ the Journey that even made less than N100 million and that is not up to one million dollars and in Hollywood any film that did not make up to $1m at the box office is a failure. What IJÉ the Journey made at the cinemas in Nigeria in over 12 months is what the worst performing Hollywood movie makes from the box office.

The next highest grossing Nollywood movies made between N30 million and N50 million.
What is N30 million in dollars?
Any Nigerian producer who makes N30 million or N80 million about ($500, 000) and is celebrating will be a laughing stock in Hollywood when the movie cost almost twice for the production.

Lest we forget, the history of film making in Nigeria dates back to 1904 when the first Nigerian film Palaver was shot in Jos. And we have been having collaborations with Hollywood since Ossie Davis (December 18, 1917 – February 4, 2005) came to Nigeria to shoot the film adaptation of Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka's Kongi's Harvest in 1971 for Francis Oladele's Calpenny Limited and Countdown at Kusini in 1976. And even before then Segun Olusola co-produced Son of Africa in 1970 and Oladele's second film was Bullfrog in the Sun in 1972, the film adaptation of Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, directed by a German Pohland Hansjürgen with the famous Princess Elisabeth of Toro, who was a lawyer in Uganda and a model in New York playing the leading actress role. Then there were over 100 cinemas in Nigeria. So, Nigeria has come a long way before Nollywood videographers emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the popular video blockbuster Living in Bondage directed by Chris Obi Rapu, written by Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, aka "Paulo" blazing the trail for a new era in Nigerian film history.

A scene from Half of A Yellow Sun film.

The most expensive Nigerian film presently is the film adaptation of Half of A Yellow Sun, the award winning novel of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, directed by Biyi Bandele and produced by Andrea Calderwood, best known for her thriller The Last King Of Scotland that won an Oscar for Forest Whitaker's classic portrayal of the barbaric Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada. The producers said the budget is $8 million. And this is projected to be the first Nigerian film that may make the US box office in 2013.

~ ~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, August 1, 2012, Lagos, Nigeria.
Michael Chima is the most popular African blogger with over 30 blogs and the author of Children of Heaven, Sleepless Night, Scarlet Tears of London, Bye, Bye Mugabe, In the House of Dogs and co-author of Naked Beauty. His new books The Prophet Lied, and Barack Obama and the American Dream will be released before Christmas. He is also a TV/Film producer and Founder of the annual Eko International Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria.

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