As Banana Island Ghost opened for screening at cinemas weekend across Nigeria, moviegoers, who thronged the box office for tickets to the movie made a scramble as the turnout was overwhelming.
Elated Executive Producer of the rave movie, Biola Alabi, said the producers of the movie were impressed by the response of Nigerians, who had exciting times watching the film.
Responding to enquiries from THISDAY, Alabi, who is a former Managing Director of MNET Africa and now CEO of Biola Alabi Media, noted that although income from the early nights of the film were â€œyet to be decided and unconfirmed at this point,â€ there were high hopes for huge financial rewards from the movie. According to her, for now, the most important thing is to entertain our audience and get them to tell others about how amazing this film is.
â€œWe have been very fortunate. We have had sold out shows across Nigeria. We have had multiple sold out shows in Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan over the last two days. This shows that the film is resonating with Nigerians.â€
Nigeria has 130 cinemas across the country.
Some of the notable Nigerians spotted at the cinemas include, former Lagos State Finance Commissioner, Mr. Wale Edun; President of Entertainment at the Silverbird Group, Mr. Guy Murray Bruce; popular actress, Funke Akindele; and On-Air-Personality, Tolu Oniru, better known as Toolz.
Describing the opening night of Banana Island Ghost at the cinemas, Alabi said, â€œWe are so overwhelmed by the response of Nigerians to the film. Everyone that Iâ€™ve spoken to after watching it said that the film took them on an emotional roller coaster, they laughed, they cried and laughed some more.â€
Alabi, who was at Silverbird Cinemas in Ikeja with a member of the cast, Uche Jombo further explained why there was a state of extreme excitement for Banana Island Ghost. According to her, â€œI believe that we have once again reached a new benchmark in telling Nigerian stories to a global audience. This is why there is so much excitement.â€
Members of the public had a chance to see some cast and crew of the film at the cinemas for different meet-and-greet sessions. .
Actor Ali Nuhu interacted with moviegoers in Abuja. Lead role actress, Chioma Omeruah, better known as, Chigul can be seen at Genesis The Palms in Lekki, Silverbird Ikeja City Mall and Filmhouse Surulere.
Alabi said the most surprising incident recorded yet since BIG opened at the cinemas was that, â€œthe audience reactions have been epic. A couple in Abuja said they wanted to say a prayer for the producers of the film for giving them something to be proud of Nigeria at this moment. They were so happy to see a high quality film from Nigerians during these tough times.â€
Speaking on the power of partnership in respect of the collaboration with Nemsia Productions, Alabi said, â€œThis is the first of five films that we will be working on over the next couple of years. What is most notable about this partnerships is what we have created as a team. We have partnered with some of the best global and local brands like Lipton, Coca Cola, Kilimanjaro, Health Plus and Cold Stone Creamery, who have actually gone on to create a special flavor of ice cream to celebrate the film; this is definitely the first of its kind in Nigeria and Africa for Cold Stone.â€
One of the landmarks recorded, according to Alabi, is the production of a special ice-cream flavour for BIG. She said, â€œMost importantly this is going to connect with audiences because it incorporates all the elements of local taste and flavors. It has Banana, which is all locally sourced, it has cinnamon which brings an element of spicy and as you know Nigerians are spicy and a little crunch from the Graham Pie Crust. All these elements come together to make up a special flavor for Banana Island Ghost the film. This is significant because itâ€™s partnering with global brands on a local Nollywood film that will be distributed globally.â€
Banana Island Ghost is written and directed by BB Sasore and is produced by Omorinsojo Spaine and Tolu Olusoga. The Executive Producers for the film are Biola Alabi, Derin Adeyokunnu, along with co-executive producer, Dr. Ayo Osunrinade and Mr. Michael Ugwu, the founder of FreeMe Digital; Ms. Adenike Adekanbi of HTB Entertainment Studios; Mr. Niyi Toluwalope and Mr. Basheer Tosin Ashafa of Tri- Equity Capital were also co-executive producers.
BIG is a comedy movie about a ghost that is scared to go to heaven because he doesnâ€™t have a soulmate, so he convinces God to give him three days to fall in love.
He is paired with the cantankerous firecracker Ijeoma, played by Chigurl who will do anything to save her fatherâ€™s house in Banana Island from the bank coming to reclaim it in three days.