With the reopening of theatres across the country yesterday after months of shutdown, Ferdinand Ekechukwu spotlights some anticipated movies
The film and television industry around the world suffered substantial hit in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. The lockdown forced all productions to come to a halt, significantly affecting the industry. Though some production houses and practitioners have taken to some skeletal operations and activities while the lockdown eases completely, most are looking to start filming in the next couple of days following official confirmation from the Nigerian government.
The Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) remarked: “Hip! Hip! Hurray! We are back! Visit any Cinema near you from September 11th! We cannot contain our excitement.” Patrick Lee, the chairman of CEAN, while speaking on the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in August, had said the industry kept losing N1 billion on a monthly basis, rendering staff jobless.
Lee adds: “We promise to give room for social distancing, 50 percent hall occupancy, use of facemask, hand sanitisers and we have made provision for air conditioning systems that would pump in oxygen. We’ve seen other aspects of the economy that are already opened and we have put enough safety protocols in place to ensure that when our customers return to watch movies, they are safe. Most of our staff are currently unemployed. There are over 20,000 people that depend on the industry in terms of supplies and those who work with artisans. We are at the point of bankruptcy; we want the government to help us reopen.”
The impact of the corona virus goes beyond the bottom line of the industry. Storylines and life on set changed. No doubt, we’ve all missed having movie dates with family, friends and lovers. We’ve certainly missed movie premiers, their themes and all the amazing glitz and glam of the red carpet events. But that’s all to be missing following the reopening. Such good news! So, it’s time to start planning those movie dates again. Now that the viewing halls and spots are opening for lovers of Nigerian films and cinema buffs, there are Nollywood movies to watch out for at the cinemas.
Some of these movies were already screening at the cinemas while a few others were almost ready to premiere before Covid-19 outbreak.
La Femme Anjola: This is one of the films put on hold due to the pandemic. It was one of the anticipated movies of 2020 because it features Nollywood’s screen goddess, Rita Dominic. A psychological thriller which has the classic elements of film noir but with an African twist, “La Femme Anjola” tells the story of a young and successful stockbroker. His life is turned upside down when he falls in love with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a femme fatale that’s working with her crooked husband to take him down. Production on this first of its kind Nollywood feature is completed, the first teaser has been released, her fans and movie buffs were anticipating the theatrical release of this work as the teaser trends.
Rattle Snake: As movie buffs anticipate the release of the Nollywood classic, Play Network Studios released the official poster for the upcoming remake of Amaka Igwe’s 1995 crime thriller, ‘Rattle Snake’, via a recent Instagram post. This first poster shows actress Osas Ighodaro will be playing the lead role in the much-anticipated remake titled “Rattle Snake: The Ahanna Story”. He had previously announced via Instagram that the movie would be in cinemas by November/December 2020 and now with the poster, it seems the movie production is complete.
Fate of Alakada: Being star-studded has been the recipe for its success as the fourth production in the Alakada series go by the title, “Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner.” On Monday, March 23, 2020, producer Toyin Abraham shared a video announcing the immediate suspension of the movie’s premiere billed for the 29th of March and its theatrical release on 3rd of April. Expect Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner at the cinemas soon.
Unroyal: Nollywood movie “Unroyal” shows a seemingly weak king played by Pete Edochie, a queen in despair, and a kingdom on the brinks of collapse. It was premiered in Port Harcourt on the 15th and released on the 20th of March. It ran for a few days before the lockdown. Produced by Matilda Lambert, “Unroyal” is a riveting drama of a vile princess (played by Matilda Lambert). Fate, however, turns her fortune around and in her dying state, she is relegated to the same position she enjoys putting others. There would be a re-launch soon to buzz up the movie before it starts screening again at the cinemas.
Sin City: The movie is expected to open at the cinemas in the last quarter of this year. The scheduled date for the release has been same even before the pandemic outbreak. The movie tells the effect of substance abuse on young people. However, in the first teaser released, it shows veteran actress Joke Silva takes up the role of a character in a wheelchair with shocking demands. She wants a six foot male neurophysiologist, broad shouldered, six pack with comforting lower body structure!
Soft Work: This movie was almost ready some six months ago by March. In the movie, a conman, who is every woman’s prince charming, leads a mission to steal a code in this Darasen Richards movie. The movie director, Richards, has put together some of Nollywood’s favourite actors for what is described as the most dangerous heist in Nigeria commercial’s capital, Lagos. In a trailer for the upcoming movie, which opens with the lead actor Alexx Ekubo’s character walking up to a man, one could figure out a thriller as it shows scenes of murder, kidnap and death threats. Soft Work is cinema ready.
Rise of The Saints: Following the two minutes, eleven seconds initial trailer for the movie ‘Rise of the Saints’, directed by Samuel O. Olateru, it was tentatively scheduled for cinema release across the nation from April 17, 2020. This fictional-epic has elements of a blockbuster. The “Rise of the Saints” is a movie inspired by the story of Moremi Ajasoro, warrior Queen of Ife who delivers her people from destruction in the hands of her sworn nemesis Jagan. The new Nollywood movie stars great actors like Peter Fatomilola, Rachael Oniga, Tina Mba, and many more. The makers are sticking to original plan of bringing it first to the cinemas with a new date.