IMAX, Film House Set To Boost Theatrical Distribution Of Movies

Managing Director of Film House Cinema and Film One Distribution Mr. 0Kene Mkparu (middle) and IMAX officials at the signing ceremony

Managing Director of Film House Cinema and Film One Distribution Mr. 0Kene Mkparu (middle) and IMAX officials at the signing ceremony

ONGOING conversation regarding the unstructured distribution of movies in Nollywood will soon yield results, as filmmakers continue to lament the poor state of distribution of films in the country. Many say the situation makes it difficult for them to remain in business.

Indeed, critics and practitioners see the lack of proper distribution mechanism, as having devastating effect on the producers and their ability to earn revenue, even though a few of them have deployed innovative strategies, including self distribution to get their movies to the right places. Even the National Distribution Framework (NDF) introduced by National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) in 2004 to regulate the structure of distribution of films and to make it auditable has failed to achieve the desired result.

Notable Nollywood filmmaker Lancelot Oduwa Imaseun lamented the pitiable situation thus, “They have failed,” he said. He maintained that the biggest barrier to them as practitioners was film distribution and piracy. For Oduwa who has resorted to distribution his latest feature film Invasion 1897 himself, the lack of effective distribution mechanism was the reason why filmmakers do it their own way.

But respite seems on the way, with the emergence of cinema outlets in the country. Filmmakers now take their films to the cinema to make money from there before hitting the glutted DVD market. There are presently about 80 screens in the country from the about 15 that was in existence about a decade ago and there are plans to establish more screens and more cinema outlets.

However, one company that has shown determination to develop more cinemas across the country is film exhibition company Filmhouse Cinemas Limited. From inception, the company has the vision to be the number one cinema brand in Nigeria. It has since 2012 focused on developing innovative multiplex cinemas across the country. The company is currently implementing a strategic development plan to rollout 25 cinemas over a six-year period.

But Filmhouse has gone a step further. Last week Filmhouse and one of the worlds leading cinema chains IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX) announced agreement for an IMAX theatre to be located in a new construction project in Lagos. The deal, announced at CineEurope, marks the first-ever IMAX agreement in Nigeria and West Africa. Nigeria now ranks as Africa’s largest economy. The agreement also underscores the company’s continued expansion in Africa, where in the past year IMAX signed its first-ever deal in Angola and added four new theatres to its network in South Africa.

According to CEO of Filmhouse Cinemas, Mr. Kene Mkparu, “Our mission is to establish the best movie-going experience in Nigeria. IMAX will help us realize this goal by delivering an immersive and differentiated experience previously unavailable to Nigerian moviegoers. As we continue our aggressive expansion plans, IMAX will serve as an anchor attraction in our multiplex in Lagos, redefining the premium cinema experience in Nigeria. We are proud to be the first to introduce IMAX in the country and look forward to broadening its reach.”

While speaking on the joint venture President of IMAX EMEA, Andrew Cripps, said they were delighted to join forces with Filmhouse Cinemas and enter Nigeria, which he said represents a key strategic move for their expansion in Africa.

In his words, “Recent reports project that Nigeria’s entertainment and media revenues will reach an estimated $8.5 billion by 2018 – more than doubling from 2013. As the biggest economy on the continent and a market that is extremely under-screened, we believe that together with Filmhouse we can seize the mutual growth opportunities that exist in Nigeria and bring the world’s most immersive cinematic experience to more audiences across the country.”

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take moviegoers beyond the edge of their seats to a world they have never imagined. IMAX’s network is believed to be among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. With headquarters in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, it has offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. There were 943 IMAX theatres (820 commercial multiplexes, 18 commercial destinations and 105 institutions) in 63 countries as at March 31, 2015,

Filmhouse Cinemas Limited currently operates cinema outlets in Lagos, Calabar, Asaba, Benin and Kano. Its management team has over 10 years combined cinema operation and development experience gained in England, Italy, USA, Spain and Nigeria.

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