By Vanessa Obioha
In a first of its kind, FilmOne Entertainment, a Lagos-based independent theatrical distributor, has signed an exclusive theatrical distribution agreement with the Walt Disney Company Africa.
The agreement will give FilmOne the exclusive right to distribute Disney films in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia.
Under the new deal, FilmOne will distribute titles from all of the Walt Disney Studios divisions, which include Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Pictures.
The deal comes at a time when fans have been starved of theatrical releases of Disney films due to Covid-19 which led to a shutdown of cinemas.
Cinemas were badly hit by the pandemic, recording an N8 billion revenue loss. But as restrictions are gradually eased and cinemas in Lagos plan reopening, cinemas goers can anticipate the release of Disney films such as ‘Mulan’, ‘The New Mutants’, ‘The King’s Man’, ‘Death on the Nile’, ‘Black Widow’, ‘Soul’, ‘Free Guy’, and ‘The Last Duel and Eternals’.
The agreement, which takes effect from September 1, indicates the growing interest in the African film market, particularly Nollywood which is reputed as the number one film industry in the continent.
Walt Disney Company Africa is one of such international companies that are committed to forming partnerships in the West African region.
“We are proud to be Disney’s film distribution partner for West Africa and see this as the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both companies in the region. Our expertise and knowledge of the market, coupled with the unrivalled quality of Disney’s titles, will drive box-office growth for many years to come,” directors of FimOne, Kene Okwuosa, Moses Babatope and Craig Shurn jointly said in a statement.
The Senior Vice-President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, Christine Service, added that: “With their in-depth knowledge of the region and expertise in bringing theatrical releases to fans, we are thrilled to welcome FilmOne as our distribution partner for this territory.”
With this new deal, FilmOne is cementing its name as the foremost independent distributor of theatrical content in anglophone West Africa and largest distributor of premium Nigerian cinematic films in the world. Their partnership with Disney Africa adds to a list of high-profile relationships with industry leaders such as Warner Brothers, Netflix, Empire Entertainment (South Africa) and Huahua (China).