Nollywood churns out about 2,500 films every year. This number surpasses Hollywood, and is second only to India’s Bollywood. Yet, While Hollywood boasts of a worth of over 50 billion dollars, Nollywood trails along at around 6 billion dollars.

Now, let us not play down the fact that Nollywood is holding her own well already. We are bigger than India’s Bollywood on  per-capita basis making us the second largest after Hollywood. Nigerian movies are immensely popular, particularly in Africa, where they currently outsell Hollywood films. Nollywood stars are much more popular on the African continent than their Hollywood counterparts. Also consider that Nollywood is just about 31 years old while Bollywood is already 91 years old and Hollywood, an ancestor at 115 years of existence.

Yet, given the fact that Nollywood is already effortlessly advancing toward the front line in the global movie industry, there are some factors keeping her from breaking that glass ceiling and taking the crown financially given that it makes more movies that Hollywood.

Also, consider the fact that unlike in the United States of America and India, Nigerian investors are not so pro Nollywood. Most of those who dare venture their finances into the Nollywood industry usually do not like to share. So, you find not enough financiers that would put up a movie production that would not be lean on budget and thereby properly produced.

Talking about streaming sites, you may be surprised to learn that most of the funds made from Nollywood movies do not even end up here in Nigeria rather, they end up in the pockets of foreign investors via streaming sites. Nollywood investors have not started investing enough in streaming sites where their movies can be streamed. This is a recent innovation that has made trillions of dollars for several persons in the movie industry across the world.

While the media told us that Netflix paid our own Genevieve Nnaji 1.3. Billion Naira (3 million dollars) from her movie Lionheart, but what did not trend is how much the movie is making for Netflix. And talking about Netflix, may I give a quick shout out to Chinny Onwugbenu, cofounder of The Entertainment Network and members of her crew for consistently working on what makes for the standard for good Nollywood movies. Before now, finding decent movies that are above average in Nollywood was like finding a needle in a haystack. But she has upped the ante. She, Kunle Afolaya and a couple of others.

But we are right on track, Nollywood is. We have improved in geometrical progression over the years and we have the gifts and the potential to be the first. It is said that all the cultures that make up Nigeria have deep roots in story telling and dancing, and that makes it almost effortless for Nollywood to make more intriguing movies than her contemporaries in India and elsewhere. But I wonder if there is any culture without such deep tradition.

The truth remains that shoestring budget film productions is synonymous with Nollywood. I recall being in a production some years ago, where the Producer was not sure where he would get money for the next day’s production and logistics and we were stuck in the middle of a village without food and water till we experienced deux ex machina. And I know many other persons with similar harrowing experiences.

The point is that more investors need to start looking in the direction of the movie industry. Imagine that while the budget of Nollywood movies span between 7500 dollars and 13000 dollars and lasts for 7 days to 1 month, Hollywood movies are shot with an average budget of 6.7 million dollars and usually last for at least one year. So, go figure.

It is a miracle what we have been able to achieve with such meager funding. Imagine what magic we can make if we get half the amount and time put into Hollywood movies. Let us stop hoping on the government to fund our movies and start negotiating seriously with potential investors. We are not lean on money bags in Nigeria. Not at all. We also need to understand that the screen writers alongside other members of the production crew deserve better welfare package so their best can be gleaned. The best is yet to come for Nollywood financially.

By O’star Eze

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