Setting Nollywood Box Office despite Pandemic

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As we roll into a new month, we roll into a new catalogue of movies. We also enter another period of what’s coming to Netflix. September sees the return of original series like Sex Education, Money Heist, and the final season of Lucifer. On the Nollywood front, there is the series adaptation of the Arese Ugwu book, The Smart Women, which will feature Osas Ighodaro and Toni Tones, among others. But September also marks entry into Netflix of the historic record-breaking Omo Ghetto the Saga.

If ever there was a most appropriate time to use the Vince McMahon excitement-o-metre meme, it’s in this case. First McMahon excitement scale: Omo Ghetto the Saga becomes the highest-grossing debuting movie on the Nollywood box office! Second scale: with N124 million!! Third scale: in the midst of a pandemic!!!

Sequel to the Omo Ghetto original of 2010, and directed by Funke Akindele, who also starred, this December 2020 release surpassed the N73 million set by Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party 2 – which had surpassed its predecessor in 2017. Then this upcoming Netflix debutant shot its way to the top of Nollywood’s all-time highest-grossing charts.

But how did this movie do so well in the midst of the state of things? It’s definitely something worth taking a look at:

Massive Marketing

Well, duh!! Omo Ghetto the Saga didn’t stand on ceremony when it came to marketing itself. Marketing is – to the surprise of no one – a huge deal in film. There was the huge social media presence and awareness, particularly Instagram, which was aided by the celebrities who starred in the movie. Not to mention the presence on the internet generally.

But perhaps its biggest plus was tapping into two key tenets of awareness and presence. Omo Ghetto the Saga didn’t just take over the Nollywood film world, it also found a way to fax itself to the area of music, with a music video from SOP Records, the Askamaya Anthem. Factor these in, and it’s of little surprise that this movie is also heading for selected cinemas in the Middle East.

Re-watch Value

Again, duh!! This seems basic, but it’s also important. The re-watch value and word-of-mouth volume can’t be underestimated. This works in quite some connection with the marketing, as there’s the ripple effect of verbal promotion and recommendation, however the decided quality of the film, thus increased viewings. For Omo Ghetto the Saga, this was a big benefit.

Star Power

You can’t knock star power as regards to film. If star power is somewhat inexplicable as a phenomenon, that’s because it’s rather straightforward. Aside from Funke Akindele, Omo Ghetto the Saga stars Eniola Badmus, Toke Makinwa, Alexx Ekubo, and, among others, Blossom Chukwujekwu, all of whose watchability has enough pull to get fans interested. Star power also creates curiosity, and this works particularly well for a movie whose original generated a solid amount of cultural buzz ten years ago.

Distribution – FilmOne

If you want to talk star power in terms film distribution, look no further than FilmOne. Nigeria’s film behemoth helmed Omo Ghetto the Saga, which explains its huge box office numbers. Of the movies that made the top ten of Nollywood’s top-grossing list for 2020, FilmOne was behind eight of those, including the top six.

It’s that influence of FilmOne that also goes a long way to explain why Omo Ghetto the Saga, in the Lagos cinemas for Silverbird, Ozone, and Viva combined, still currently has a total of 21 showtimes per day. In contrast, Wonder Woman 1984 has ten, Quam’s Money has six, and Soul, four.

Twas’ the season of Cinema

Pandemic or not, December is always a time for cinema-going in this part of the country, hence why a few Nollywood releases dropped last month, especially with lockdown being significantly eased. Cinema-going in such time of the year is as cultural as it is about movie-watching, and while Omo Ghetto the Saga matched other movies for availability last month, it was unmatched for marketing and distribution.

***Omo Ghetto comes to Netflix from September 10

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