On April 1st 2019, The Official Convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), CinemaCon recognized the Nigerian movie industry with the Emerging Market Award at Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas, U.S.A.
The award was presented to CEO of The Filmhouse Group, Kene Okwuosa and MD, FilmOne Production and Distribution, Moses Babatope.
This award comes as no surprise as the 2010s spelled growth for the cinema culture with various cinema brands popping up to create competition in the space for already established players.
At this time, thanks to globalization, the concept of cinema viewing had become popular, and it was ripe for a company serious about bringing the movie-going experience to the masses emerged. At this point record-breaking revenues in the amount of N1.72trillion (2013) was being reported with the industry valued at N853.9billion (third in the world after the United States and India).
Nollywood was responsible for 1.4% of Nigeria’s economy. In 2013, FilmHouse decided to take on the challenge of entering the market to expand the cinema industry to a wider population. Today, far from the middle and upper class activity cinema-going used to be, with 44 cinemas across the country (up 29% increase from 2017), serving an estimated population of 190 million Nigerians – though not yet saturated, the growth of this culture and incidentally the industry connected to it is undeniable.
FilmHouse, dedicated to opening as many branches as time and space would permit even with 23% of the 180 screens already enjoys a 39% market share, signaling room for even more growth provided the right investments and marketing efforts are made to expand the industry.
With their presence attracting distribution deals with foreign big names like 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros Pictures, as well as Empire Entertainment (South Africa), the marriage between Nollywood native content and Hollywood international offerings has created just the right ecosystem for a flourishing global cinema culture. There are also many thanks to be given to the presence of improved recording equipment and better-trained filmmakers in the industry.
From a financial perspective, it appears the cinema culture has been very useful in combating the effects of piracy to an extent for filmmakers. In 2018 alone, FilmOne recorded a Gross Box Office in-flow of N2.8billion with over 2.7million ticket admissions. By the time you add the income of other cinema houses, the Gross Box Office earnings jumps up to N5.5billion (up 23% from 2017). From Nollywood alone, N1.4billion of this gross figure was realized, FilmOne as the biggest production house holding a 92% share of the local content cinema market in what some might refer to as a monopoly. For interested investors in this sector, after accounting for sales of items like popcorn, hotdogs and drinks, a staggering revenue of N20.3billion was declared by FilmHouse, a first for any company in the industry.