Fate of Alakada Opens Huge at the Box Office Despite Limited Seating Capacity
- Shows great potential to salvage Nigerian Cinemas
As cinema operators wailed over the excruciating effect the lockdown had on their businesses and pleaded with federal and state governments to reopen their sector, one question that arose amongst critics and business analysts was whether or not moviegoers were willing to return to their hobbies when they reopen. Some factors in the argument included the rise in consumption of contents via VODs, as well as safety consciousness.
The odds looked more against the operators when it seemed that some of the key films they hoped to reopen with such as Mulan and Tenet, were either released on specific VODs or earlier in other markets and prone to piracy. Other Hollywood films were postponed either to later months of the year or to 2021.
Finally, after the federal government agreed to their resumption on the condition that they operate at fifty percent capacity in their auditoriums, it took Lagos state government an extra two weeks to give their nod with a harder condition – thirty-three percent.
The ball was set rolling with observers closely monitoring performance. Some movies whose run had to be suspended due to the lockdown reopened alongside Tenet and Mulan. Toyin Abraham’s film Fate of Alakada, originally scheduled for April 12th was shifted to Independence Day to ensure it serves as fresh content for the holiday. Marketing had begun in February but had to be suspended due to the pandemic, but one thing had been already established – The content is strong and appeals to many categories of moviegoers. However, considering the COVID19 effect and the crawling numbers at the box office throughout September, not so much was expected from this movie in terms of a good performance at the box office.
Contrary to expectations and forecasts, sources from FilmOne Entertainment have estimated the Independence Day gross opening of the film to be amongst the top five figures for a Nollywood opening since 2018. This means that Fate of Alakada made over ten million naira on its first day of release. Other films on this pedestal since 2018 include Merry Men 1, Chief Daddy, Merry Men 2, and Sugar Rush. It has also gone ahead to be the highest opening in the post-lockdown period, with just one day of release, displacing films such as Mulan and Tenet which has run for two weeks.
With a performance such as this, in just its first day of release, FOA tends to finish the weekend with nothing less than N 25 million, which would put it amongst the Top 10 weekend openings for Nollywood films.
This points to several indicators. Firstly, it shows the capacity of Nollywood films to sustain and remedy the cinema industry amidst the chaos caused by the pandemic, when quality content is well marketed. It also shows the dependency of the cinema market on contents that meet public demand. Once a film is relatable to the majority of the public, moviegoers would turn out en masse. It also tells us what to expect from similar kinds of films scheduled for release towards the end of the year. With the likes of Kambili, Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto, Rattle Snake, Nneka the Pretty Serpent, and Fhalz’s Quam’s Money to mention a few, Nollywood undoubtedly possesses the key to restoring the cinema industry to its rightful place.