May 21, 2018

Over 4 Billion Naira and Growing, But Who Is Watching?

Nigerian movies grossed some ₦4.2Billion in 2017, according to the filmmaker Tunde Kelani, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).

“Those figures were provided at a recent NFVCB forum by researchers who are tallying the numbers”, Kelani said in a recently taped documentary, produced to mark his 70th birthday.

“It’s almost a 100% increase from the 2016 gross of ₦2.4Billion”, he remarked, adding that the highest box office grossing movies between 2016 and 2017 were the Wedding Party Series and the AY produced –several-days-in some- city-abroad series. Huge as the numbers look, however, Kelani insists there is a demographic deficit.

“These figures are from cinema ticket sales, and that itself means that this is what the elites in VI, Ikoyi, Ikeja in Lagos and Bodija in Ibadan have paid to watch movies, but who is showing any movie in any cinema to people in Alimosho, Ajangbadi, Ikorodu and Badagry in Lagos?”, he asks.

It was only three months ago that the first modern cinema opened in Abeokuta. The venue, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), has only one screen.

Kelani argues for investors to take advantage of the business opportunity and establish cinemas across cities and towns in the country. “I believe that the Shopping Mall cinema experiment will spread to outlying towns in Lagos”, he says, “but that is not enough”. And in any case, he wonders “what will be the content in those cinemas? Are we also going to have the standard preference for Hollywood movies?”

The documentary, titled: Kelani: King of The Shoot, was screened at the IREP Documentary Festival(, which ran from March 22 to 25, 2018. at the Freedom Park in Lagos.

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