Once upon a time, seeing a movie at the cinema in Nigeria was a luxury reserved for only the affluent, the upper class (some have termed the “upper middle” class) in the Nigerian society. It was the era where home videos in video compact discs (VCDs and DVDs) thrived. However, in just a few decades, the cinema culture is on the rise in Nigeria as Nigerians have started to spend more on movies in the country, both foreign and local.
The data released by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) showed that Nigerians spent a record-breaking N6.94 billion on movies in 2022. This is N2.2 billion more than the N4.7 billion revenue generated from movies in 2021. Although the amount represents a 31.7 percent increase in revenue in 2021 compared to 2020, the increase is lower when compared to the 55.7 percent increase from the year 2019, whose figure was at N2.1 billion in gross earnings.
Global lockdown in 2020 resulted in less revenue on movies.
Information is justified because of the global lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown in Nigeria caused movies to make less money because Nigerians were forced to adopt other means of leisure. This includes watching the movies that they would have otherwise seen at the cinema on streaming sites such as Netflix. Uncoincidentally, Netflix generated $24.9 billion in revenue in 2021, a 23.8 percent increase on the previous year. Since then, the company has continued to generate higher revenue.
Nigeria continues to lead the recovery in post-pandemic Africa on the back of local industry. Hence, Nigerians may be enthusiastically adopting movie culture at a much faster pace. According to the data released by Technext, Jade Osiberu’s “Brotherhood” is the most-grossed Nollywood movie in 2022. The movie earned over N328 million in gross revenue. The movie, “King of Thieves,” closely followed, generating N321 million the same year. For Hollywood movies, “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” was the highest-grossing Hollywood movie with N926 million in revenue. This was followed by “Woman King” with N472 million in gross revenue. According to records, “Wakanda Forever” is on track to becoming the first one-billion-naira-grossing movie.
Rise in average ticket prices contribute to increase in movie revenue.
The Box Office statistics have revealed that cinema admissions remained roughly the same with those of the previous year. Consequently, the biggest contributor to the increase in movie revenue was the rise in average ticket prices. In other words, movies earned more in 2022 because Nigerians paid more than they did the previous year. Cinema admissions in 2022 were a bit lower than the previous year. Cinemas recorded 3,188,732 annual admissions in 2022, while they recorded 3,239,336 annual admissions in 2021.
Africa recorded giant strides in the movie industry as Hollywood directed their focus on producing Afrocentric content and engagement. Movies, such as “Black Panther 2” and ‘The Woman King,” were a demonstration of that effort. “Black Panther” is one of the first superhero Hollywood movies to focus on Africa (though Wakanda is a fictional country) and generate enough global engagement that produced the results that have been witnessed so far. The concept is not only unique but also an ego booster for Black people, particularly Africans.
Nollywood must maintain its momentum through quality and proper storylines.
Despite the country’s difficult economic situation, Nigerians are rapidly adopting the cinema culture. People are ready to spend more at the movies as a means of leisure. This does not imply that they are unaware of the situation but that they don’t care even as they face an overwhelming issue of rising ticket prices. Much work was dedicated in 2022 to providing Nigerians quality and relatable content, which kept them consistently visiting the cinemas. For Nollywood to maintain this momentum and keep grossing numbers and revenues high, consistent curation of quality-video movies and properly written storylines should be the industry’s hallmark.