Uncovered! Why Nigerian Movie Industry Is Dying

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Recess is the consoling word on the lips of some actors, producers and marketers to describe the dying situation of the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as ‘Nollywood (Not-Hollywood). One can actually notice some improvements in production quality but it’s still the case of moving in a circle. But like a blind man who also knows when the rains fall, only few of home video buffs will claim ignorance of poor sales currently rocking Nollywood.

Although not like before, the Yoruba genre of the Nigerian movie industry is still recording high sales, some of the producers are still hitting location for movie shoots and the sector is also keeping tabs on the current trends in movie making when compared to English genre. Even though, some people have attributed the lead taking by Yoruba genre to low budget and the idea of ‘rub my back, I rub yours’ when producing, no one will dispute the fact that the once bubbling movie industry is collapsing.

Apart from the scourge of piracy, which is killing the industry, most marketers see the incessant power supply as one of the things that dropped the sales of home videos. While the practitioners are blaming the Federal Government for negligence, the Nollywood as many preferred to call the Nigerian movie industry, is still enjoying the rating as the third largest industry after Hollywood and Bollywood.

As most home video buffs now prefer Yoruba to English home videos , here are some of the emerging facts and reasons the Nigerian movie industry( if there is any) is crumbling.

Story lines: This is one of the unarguable facts that characterized the sudden fall in sales of Nigerian home videos, most especially, the English genre. Apart from watery story lines, it’s quite easy to predict the end of most films. At times, the setting , theme, choice of costume, effects and more, are so pedestrian, which make those in the know think that probably the scripts writer, director, continuity, actors among others are a bunch of illiterates. Although, not all Nigerian films lack good story lines or bad plotting, a huge number of bad ones have taken the shine off the very few good home videos. And you may also begin to wonder if they do script conferences and auditioning.

Chosen Quantity over Quality: Although, some people still believe that the English genre has better production quality when compared to Yoruba, the former has lost the credibility to the latter. This is not unconnected to unnecessary splitting of films into many parts. More so, Spending of fewer days on locations to shoot a typical home video in Nigeria is believed to be having a great effect on continuity and production quality of most home videos. Aside that, quantity of movie releases every week has made it difficult for home video buffs to distinguish between the bad and good films,  this is one of the reasons many people patronize video clubs instead of buying new films and why pirates are now combining most films as 30 in 1 on CDs and DVDs.

Most movie marketers are to blame for this act which has crippled the sales of home videos. It’s even an in-thing in the Yoruba genre, where most marketers turn their girlfriends and mistresses to producers and actresses.  Moreover, things have changed drastically as most jobs meant for home videos now showing as movies at the cinemas.

Influx of Ghanaian Actors And Actresses: This is mostly common in English home videos and this has obviously boosted the sales of Nigerian films in Ghana and other African countries but has greatly affected the sales back home. This may not be unconnected to the fact that most famous faces of Nigerian movie industry, most especially the so called screen gods and goddess now demanding for high fees and their holier than thou attitude, when compared to their Ghanaian counterparts. This was what actually led to the ban of some of the Nigerian very best Nollywood superstars some years ago. One begins to wonder about how many copies of a movie, which starred Jackie Apiah, Majid Micheal, Nandia Bwari, Van Vicker or any other popular Ghanaian star actors, will sell in Nigeria when compares to the one with the face of the Nigerian international acclaim like Omotola, TAiwo Al-Hansan aka Ogogo, Jim Iyke, Genevieve, Yinka Quadri, Ramsey Nouah, Funke Akindele, Bimbola Akintola,  Saheed Balogun, Kate Henshaw, Laide Bakare, Mike Ezurounye just to mention but a few.

TRIBALISM: This has been a great factor which has been affecting the growth of Nigerian movie industry, though, the two popular genres (Yoruba and English) can claim to be doing pretty well, it’s a known fact that Nollywood, the acclaimed world’s third largest movie industry, is still far behind in terms of advancement and technical know-how when compared to Hollywood and Bollywood .

Apart from having very few famous faces that are synonymous with both Yoruba and English home videos, it’s quite difficult for Yoruba movie producers to penetrate the market with English home videos and vice- a -visa. They have culminated themselves into cliques and mafias, as it’s quite difficult to point a finger at the new movie stars.

The sales of a movie which paraded the star actors from both worlds (English and Yoruba genres) are better imagined. The supremacy battle between Igbo and Yoruba actors is believed to be the reason why they can never close ranks to move the industry forward. It may also interest you to know that most Yoruba actors don’t recognize the word ‘Nollywood’, talk less of associating themselves with what they see as an association of Igbo actors.

CENSORS BOARD– It’s quite ridiculous that the Nigerian Films and Videos Censors Board (NFVCB), the regulatory body that is saddled with the responsibility of sanitizing the movie industry has been fingered as the one nailing the coffin of Nollywood. Apart from the initial brouhaha over compulsory 30 million naira capital base before it was reduced to five million for the marketers to strengthen the movie distribution network in Nigeria, it has no effect! Most movie practitioners have been crying foul over all the recent directives by the Censors Board. This is gathered to have paralyzed all the activities in the movie industry and the worst hit is the English genre. While most producers now release their movie uncensored, some are calling it quits for other businesses and many no longer hit movie locations like before…….To Be Continued


By- Kazeem Popoola  on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 11:10pm


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