Nigerians should expect more Box Office hits from Nollywood as it shapes up to meet its huge promise. The Nigerian film industry, popularly referred to as Nollywood has become a big money spinner for film makers and actors/actresses as it has been estimated that it generates an average of $590 million (N109 billion) annually. Roberts Orya, managing director / chief executive officer, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) disclosed in an article published by IGNITE Journal, a publication of NEXIM Bank.
Breaking down the figures, Orya noted that Nollywood produces about 50 movies per week and almost 3000 movies per annum making it the second largest film industry in the world behind India’s Bollywood in terms of volume of production. In revenue, Nollywood is third, behind Hollywood and Bollywood.
“Current estimates put its annual revenue at an impressive $590 million,” Orya said.
Nigeria’s rebased GDP had put the value of Nollywood at about $6 billion. Analysts consider the potential of Nollywood as huge considering that despite its steep growth in recent years, revenues generated is still a fraction of global film industry revenues estimated at $102.7 billion in 2012.
North America contributes the largest market share of global film industry revenues with about 40 percent. Europe, Middle East and Africa accounted for 24 percent, Latin America 20 percent, and Asia Pacific made only three percent contribution.
But Nigerian film industry is growing fast with recent movies becoming box office hits in Nigerian Cinemas. In late 2014, Ayo Makun’s film ’30 Days in Atlanta’ was adjudged as the film with the highest revenue in 2014 making N76million in seven weeks of showing on Cinema screens across the country.
“It is quite impressive for a Nollywood film,” said Guy Bruce, director, Silverbird Distribution Company.
Moses Babatope, executive director, Filmhouse Cinemas projects that ’30 Days in Atlanta’ may gross over N100 million by the time it stops showing in Cinemas.
The foundation for the box office hit of “30 days in Atlanta” has been built over the years by other Nigerian film makers.
In 2013, ‘The Meeting’ produced by Mildred Okwo and Afolayan’s ‘Phone Swap’ also recorded huge commercial success at the Cinemas. In 2009, Stephanie Okereke’s movie, ‘Through the Glass,’ premiered at the cinemas making over N10 million. KunleAfolayan’s ‘The Figurine’ was the first local film to make over N30 million at the cinemas.
ChinezeAnyaene’s film, ‘Ije,’ also recorded tremendous success at the cinemas, making over N57 million and viewed by an estimated 14,000 people. In 2010, ‘Ije’ was reputed to be Nigeria’s highest selling movie in the cinemas, returning to the cinemas three times that year. Its success was next to Hollywood’s ‘Avatar.’ ‘Anchor Baby’ produced by LonzoNzekwe also made over N17 million.
Victor Okhai, film maker, says a new crop of film makers have brought professionalism into the industry, which explains the improvement in the quality of films produced lately.
“Nollywood has grown to the stage where the mediocre film makers can no longer thrive. Film makers found out that when they attend film festivals, nobody paid attention to Nollywood films. Film critics looked at the industry with disdain at these film festivals. These forced many local film makers to come back home to reconsider the type of movies they do.” he explained.
This giant leap taken by films like ’30 Days in Atlanta’ in 2014 has been attributed to the drastic improvement in production quality of Nollywood films pioneered by film makers like Tunde Kelani, TadeOgidan among others.
Nollywood success has also had a real impact on the Nigerian economy as it is now reputed to be the second highest employer of labour in Nigeria after agriculture.
According to Orya, Nollywood currently employs more than a million people who are mostly young and offering diverse skill sets.
Nollywood however still has its challenges. Gabriel Okoye, CEO, G-Media says Nollywood would have generated more revenue but the expected growth of the industry is stifled by piracy and lack of good distribution frame work.
His company has seen opportunity in this challenge and is putting in place structures to correct it. “What we are doing,” said Okoye, “is taking steps to set distribution standards and eventually curb piracy. We are saying if we can revolutionise distribution of our works in the creative industry, things will change. We are seeking to monetize the creative industry so that in years as ahead we can reap the fruit if our labour.”
Nollywood hold huge promise for the future, many analysts agree.