by Franklin Ojubod
May 15, 2022 | 10:30 am
About a year ago, the headlines broke with the news that Funke Akindele-Bello’s “Omo Ghetto: The Saga” had become the highest-grossing Nigerian film of all time. According to the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), the 2020 comedy grossed over 636 million neen, ending the four-year record for Kimi Aditiba’s 2016 film The Wedding…
About a year ago, the headlines broke the news that “Omo Ghetto: The Saga” by artist Funke Akindele-Bello. It became the highest-grossing Nigerian film of all time. According to the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), the 2020 comedy grossed more than 636 million, ending the four-year record for Kimi Aditiba’s 2016 movie “The Wedding” with 453 million. Omo Ghetto: The Saga is a follow-up to the 2010 movie “Omo Ghetto”, It chronicles the turbulent life of Lefty (Funk Akindele), who is torn between her adoptive mother’s wealthy presence and her ghetto lifestyle, which she finds more normal. Chioma Akpotha, Tina Mba, Zubby Michael, Adebayo Salami and a large number of other actors appear in the comedy.
This announcement was a bit surprising as it came during the coronavirus pandemic that affected the film industry as well as other industries. To combat the epidemic rampant in Nigeria, theaters were closed in March of the same year. They reopened six months later, but this time with other issues: auditorium seating capacity at 50% and a wary audience who was reluctant to visit the theaters.
This may have contributed to the poor 31 days income, especially in December, when the demand for Nollywood films was high. However, tickets for “Omo Ghetto: The Saga” sold out quickly, and some theaters across the country adjusted showtimes for other films to accommodate the throngs of people eager to watch Akindele’s comedy. It might be the movie’s unique marketing strategies or simply the fact that it was a comedy done right, with a mixture of glam and glamor. Anyway, everyone was thrilled with this picture, and it did well on Netflix, where you can watch it now. Consider Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984”” It was also in theaters at the time.
“The Wedding” (directed by Kimi Aditiba) and wedding 2 (Directed by Nii Akinmolyan) It now takes second and third place, respectively, with “Omo Ghetto: The Saga” as the highest-grossing film. EbonyLife Productions (“Chief Daddy”, “Your Excellency”), AY’s Corporate Entertainment (“Merry Men”, “Merry Men 2”, and “A Trip to Jamaica”), and Kemi’s “King of Boys” compliment Aditiba. from the list.
A quick look at this list reveals one thing: comedy seems to be a Nollywood mainstay, and while people refer to it as sloppy, cliched and not necessarily funny, it appears to be doing well at the box office.
Most of the time, in conversations with moviegoers, film critics and even people working in the industry, the public is blamed. The common reaction is that the audience does not appreciate movies that are not comedies and would rather spend their money watching a romantic comedy or a comedy. Some films lend credence to this. In 2016, Steve Jokas directed 93 Days, a film about the Ebola crisis in Nigeria and how the late Dr. Stella Amio Adadevo played a key role in containing the disease in the country. Despite a good performance, great cinematography, and excellent storytelling, it slipped poorly in movie theaters and only saw new life when it debuted on the streaming platform, Netflix. There are other examples of movies like this.
However, there are also non-comedy films that have done well in cinemas and earned money. The list includes such films as “Kings of Boys”, “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free” and most recently, “King of Thieves”. These films give us an idea that there is an audience that is interested in other types of films and they are smart enough.
So what will it be? Shall we continue to do comedy?