Nollywood has come a long way since the release of Kenneth Nnebue’s Living in Bondage in 1992. If you ask me, I
would say that Nollywood has experienced two major eras since its inception.
The first is the period between 1992 and 2007, during this period most films went straight from the cutting room
directly into home video release. To stakeholders, movie producers and actors, it was more about quantity than quality
and you’d rarely see Nollywood films in the cinemas during this period. They had less exposure and audiences didn’t
go beyond the confines of your living room. For instance, how many Nollywood movies did you see in the cinemas pre 2007?
However, from this period, the industry witnessed a boom with the quality of films being dished out to Nigerian
audiences. A new crop of directors, producers took Nigerian films to another stage. We now had film trailers on
television, on billboards, premieres and you could see your favorites movie stars at a theater near you. Our films were
screened to audiences worldwide. It was the start of a revolution Film reviews became a big deal and box offices and failures could be tracked.
But amidst this Nollywood revolution, economic recession, countrywide unemployment, corruption and a country
that’s constantly on the brink of a break up, one genre has stood out among others. That is Comedy! No surprises given
the mounting issues the average Nigerian faces, which as a result we are constantly are looking for the nearest
opportunity to laugh out our sorrows even when some times these films offer nothing new. In addition to that, the box
office results tells no lies.
Popular Nigerian comedian Ayo Makun has capitalized on this by carving out his own niche of Holiday-location-
themed films like 30 Days in Atlanta, A trip to Jamaica and what nots.
While last year Banky/Adesua Romantic Comedy The Wedding Party lit up the box office and is one of the talked about
films of 2016. Then on television we can rest assured look forward to the rib-tickling grammar of Jenifa and friends.
AY’s 30 days in Atlanta broke all box office records by grossing more than a 100 million naira back in 2014.
The Wedding Party grossed 453 Million naira on a 60 million naira budget
BB Sasore Banana Island Ghost is on its way to become a bonafide hit.
What does this mean for other film genres in Nollywood? Is it only comedy films that are the most popular and capable of driving audiences in droves to Ikeja City Mall?
Case in point:
1.Kunle Afolayan’s October 1st:
One of the most viewed on DSTV (Multichoice) at the time of its release, but there is no official record for the film’s revenue save for the directors words on the film’s profitability.
2. Half of a Yellow sun:
Budget of 10 million dollars with a revenue of 2 miilion dollars at the box office.
3. The high percentage of non-comedy films that go by unnoticed at the box office
From the data above, any quality film can garner waves in Nigeria, but comedy is a sure hit. And going forward, we are
going to see more laughter themed films appear in droves at cineplexes. This also means that it is going to take a while
before other genres can enjoy the successes of comedy films.
“I hope Nigerians would prove the world wrong that all we want to just do is laugh in the cinema,”.
“Of late, that has been the story, that, ‘oh you know , people just don’t want to think, people don’t want anything that
would make them remember their woes or think about anything that’s happening in the society. They just want to
laugh out their sorrows and go away.”
“But, I think Nigerian are bigger than that. I think we are very intelligent people. I think if you give them something that
makes them feel good, and makes them feel intelligent and something that’s worth their time, I feel like they will come
out to support it.”
Her statement is mere wishful thinking and Nigerian audiences haven’t evolved with respect to their fondness for
comedy films. However, she’s right by saying that by saying Nigerians will appreciate a non-comedy film if it is done
well. Here’s to hoping that happens in the future.