In 2021 alone, six of the 10 highest-grossing production collaborations of 2021 came from West Africa’s leading film production and distribution company, FilmOne Entertainment, Olamilekan Okeowo in this report examines how this company is leading the resurgence of Box Office in Nigeria and some of the plans in the pipeline for 2022.
With its involvement in the production of blockbusters like The Wedding Party 1&2, Sugar Rush, and Merry Men 1 & 2, to mention a few, West Africa’s leading film production and distribution company, FilmOne Entertainment has cemented its place in the history of Box Office resurgence in Nigeria.
Last year alone, the company was directly involved in six of the ten highest-grossing production collaborations with movies like The Ghost and The Tout Too, Prophetess, Aki and Pawpaw and My Village People amongst others.
Also, the company’s investment in co-productions accounted for 35% of box office revenues between 2020 & 2021.
Perhaps, we should go back a bit in time to understand the enormity of the company’s contribution to Box Office resurgence.
In 2020, the Nigerian cinema industry was almost fizzled by the impact of the pandemic, losing six months to a lockdown and barely realizing N2.1 billion ($5.1 million, 30% of its revenue in the previous year).
FimOne Entertainment set the tone for a revival in 2021 with a spillover of Nollywood’s highest-grossing movie of all time, and Africa’s highest-grossing movie of 2020, Omo Ghetto: The Saga (distributed by FilmOne Entertainment). It realised 60% of its lifetime box office revenue in the year and provided a springboard for an exceptional performance of the Nigerian box office, despite odds such as precautionary measures and seating capacity restrictions necessitated by the pandemic.
The importance of FilmOne Entertainment to Box Office was further reiterated by a report from data company – COMSCORE which highlighted that the distribution arm of FilmOne Entertainment also played a key role in 2021’s performance by distributing 76 out of the 214 films released theatrically in the year (34%), and accounted for 76% of the year’s box office revenue.
Prominent amongst these releases is Spiderman: No Way Home, which is currently Nigeria’s second highest-grossing film of all time, having made a whopping N660 million ($1.6 million) in four weeks. It would be recalled that the Nigerian cinema industry was almost fizzled by the impact of the pandemic in 2020, losing six months to a lockdown and barely realizing N2.1 billion naira ($5.1 million, 30% of its revenue in the previous year).
The company is not resting on its oars and has unveiled its plans for 2022. The company recently announced its first slate of original feature films to include The Battle on Mama Put Hill, Aba Blues and Why So Single while as TV series contents, it will be making Raising 6, The Miseducation of Mimi, Hidden Pains and London Blue, amongst others.
Speaking about the slate, Head of Production, Mimi Bartels in enthusiasm stated that; “I’m excited about this opportunity to bring to the big screen, as well as other platforms, the amazing stories that we have spent so much time developing. Our focus in 2022 is to produce authentic local content for global consumption, which would be key in positioning Nollywood as the solid source for stories that make a cross-cultural impact,” she said.
Co-founder of Filmhouse Group and managing director of FilmOne Entertainment, Moses Babatope, shared a visionary perspective on Nollywood’s film production, “We have come a long way in terms of aligning Nollywood with international standards on production quality, though there is room for improvement. What we are currently striving to achieve is taking it to the next level where the global audience would resonate with our stories, which would be certain when our films not only make global streaming charts but successfully open in many other theatrical markets, boosting the lifetime value of contents,” he said.
Ladun Awobokun, Head of Distribution, spoke excitedly about the company’s achievements, “We anticipated a great performance for our titles at the beginning of the year and strategized to bring our expectations to fruition, nonetheless, what we have achieved is mind-blowing. Having to lead the supply of premium content in both theatrical and digital platforms for the West Africa market in 2021, would have been impossible without the great relationship we have with our partners, and I would love to appreciate them all for helping us achieve such a great feat,” she said.
FilmOne Entertainment is currently the exclusive distribution partner to major Hollywood studios for the Anglophone West African territory; Walt Disney, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures and other Hollywood studios and independents (through its sub-distribution partnership with Empire Entertainment). It is also a major aggregator of Netflix and several other streaming platforms. Through its production and distribution arms, FilmOne Entertainment commits to supplying premium content to both theatrical and digital platforms.