Nollywood, Nigeria’s vibrant film industry, has demonstrated impressive growth and resilience in the face of economic hardships that have disrupted many sectors of the economy. And the box office is attesting to this. According to the latest data from the Cinema Association of Nigeria, the box office revenue in Nigeria increased by 25 per cent in August 2023, reaching ₦603 million from ticket sales across the country. This was a significant improvement from the ₦482.5 million recorded in July 2023. According to the National Chairman of the Cinema Association of Nigeria, Opeyemi Ajayi, the impressive performance is the result of different factors, including a strong lineup of films, and increased patronage.
Some of the films that attracted large audiences in August were Akuddaya, Meg 2, Teenage Mutant Minja, A Bag of Trouble, Blue Beetle, Mikolo, The Modern Woman, Retribution, and Kesari. Among these, Kesari was a notable success story, as it was an indigenous Yoruba film that ranked third on the top 20-weekend movie list in Nigeria, earning ₦11.1 million. It was preceded by Equalizer 3 and Blue Beetle, which generated ₦24 million and ₦13.4 million respectively. According to the report, the number of cinema-goers also rose by 212,192 in August, compared to the number in July.
Is this a sustainable trend?
Nigeria’s box office numbers have consistently fluctuated in the last few years, influenced by factors such as the availability of blockbuster movies, production and distribution quality, ticket prices, and the economic situation of the country. One month ago, the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria reported that the revenue dropped by 14.98 per cent in July, even though the month boasted a minor increase in cinema viewer numbers. Following the same trend, the box office sales dropped in May but rose to N567 million in June.
However, the box office trends in Nigeria indicate that Nollywood has produced diverse and quality films in the last few months. Three weeks ago, Film One studios announced that its latest movie, Orisa crossed ₦100 million in gross profit at the local box office. The industry has also adapted to changing consumer preferences. For instance, the first weekend of September 2023 witnessed a surge in moviegoers as cinemas across the country offered discounted ₦1000 tickets to celebrate International Cinema Day. Data from Nigeria’s box office indicates a total revenue of ₦76 million during the weekend of September 1-3. This indicates that Nigerians are willing to support their local cinema industry when presented with attractive incentives and promotions.
However, there are still some challenges and uncertainties that may affect the sustainability of this trend, such as the competition from streaming services, or even the competition from foreign films. The cinema industry also grapples with infrastructure challenges, as Nollywood, the world’s second-largest movie industry, currently has only 251 cinema screens. While it may be premature to declare a stable box office trend, there is undeniable potential for growth and innovation in the dynamic and diverse Nigerian film industry.