Rave-of-the-moment Nigerian action-comedy movie, Banana Island Ghost, BIG, lived up to the expectation of its producers in its first week at the cinemas, grossing N35 million at the box office. This amount includes monies from private screening.
A statement by its executive producer, Biola Alabi, indicated that cinema going Nigerians preferred to experience Nollywood films over Hollywood epics. In an opening week that also witnessed the release of two Hollywood blockbusters: ‘Dark Tower’ – a Steven King bestseller, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, and ‘Girls Trip’ – starring Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah; audiences around the country still overwhelmingly chose to see the Nollywood fantasy, Banana Island Ghost.
The movie also did well against other top contending Nigerian films like ‘Alter Ego’ starring Nollywood superstar Omotala Jalade Ekeinde and ‘Hakkunde’ that were also facing the pressure of new films in their first week or two at the cinemas.
Nigeria has 130 cinemas across the country. Seven of the high-grossing cinemas are in the commercial city of Lagos. Other cities with a great number of cinema-goers include Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan. Cinema tickets are not uniformly priced across the country and every cinema has different offers for their customers. Expectations are high that Banana Island Ghost will continue to attract good patronage and remain the preferred movie through the coming Sallah holiday at the end of August and well into September.
Banana Island Ghost is expected to complete an eight-week run in the cinemas at the end of September, by which time it is projected to gross about N400 million. The action-comedy film is produced by BAMNEMSIA Pictures, a co-production partnership between Biola Alabi Media and Nemsia Films. It is a movie about a ghost who is scared to go to heaven because he doesn’t have a soul-mate, and a lady who will do anything to save her father’s house in Banana Island – the two are paired by God and they have three days to do what they must do.
Alabi said, “We are extremely proud of the audience response thus far. Convincing people to leave their homes and give you their hard earned money is never easy. There’s still a lot to do in order to make our investors happy.”
The Writer/Director B.B. Sasore also commented on the impressive results. He said, “Frankly, thirty-five million naira is humbling. To see so many people respond well to something you created is satisfying. I know how hard my cast and crew worked to achieve the quality we did, and I think that is what Nigerians are reacting to. Picture quality, visual effects, and great comedy, all tied up in a Nigerian story made by Nigerians.”