Nollywood and its fondness for comedy films

Nollywood poster 30 days in Atlanta

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.

Nollywood poster 30 days in Atlanta
30 Days in Atlanta Poster
Image Credit: Iroko TV

 

The Wedding Party grossed 453 Million naira on a 60 million naira budget

Nollywood The Wedding Party Poster
The Wedding Party Poster
Image Credit: Pinterest

BB Sasore Banana Island Ghost is on its way to become a bonafide hit.

Nollywood Banana Island Ghost Poster
Banana Island Ghost Poster Image Credit: Pulse Nigeria

 

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.

 Nollywood poster october 1st nigerian movie
October 1st Poster Image Credit: Wikipedia

2. Half of a Yellow sun:
Budget of 10 million dollars with a revenue of 2 miilion dollars at the box office.

Nollywood poster half a yellow sun nigerian movie
Half of a Yellow Sun Poster Image Credit: IMDB

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.

 

Even stakeholders have acknowledged this as a potential problem. Below is an excerpt from Omotola’s interview with Broadway TV while promoting her film Alter Ego:

“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.

 

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