‘FIFTY’ sets home record, grosses N400m

From left: Biyi Bandele, Nse Ikpe Orji, Dakore Akande, Ireti Doyle, Omoni Oboli, and Mo Abudu during the BFI London Film Festival.

From left: Biyi Bandele, Nse Ikpe Orji, Dakore Akande, Ireti Doyle, Omoni Oboli, and Mo Abudu during the BFI London Film Festival.

Fifty, the Box Office smash hit from EbonyLife Films, will this week, close its remarkable four-month cinema run in Nigeria. The much-talked about story of a pivotal week in the lives of four successful African women in 21st century Lagos, has redefined return on investment metrics in the African film industry. It is estimated that through various revenue generating streams, the film has grossed over ₦400 million.

In partnership with Film One Distribution, the movie made nearly ₦100 million through Box Office alone. Premiere sponsorship/partnerships, private screenings; a first-of-its-kind deal with internet streaming provider, Netflix; in-flight entertainment deals and video-on-demand (VOD) are among the other revenue streams.

Speaking on the film’s cinema run, Executive Producer, Mo Abudu, said, “we started in early December 2015 and four months later, the film continues to resonate with moviegoers across the country. We are extremely proud and it is a testament that Nigerians do support their own.”

The movie’s revenue intake leverages on a unique business model not previously explored in the Nigerian film industry. This model serves as proof to various stakeholders – producers, directors and investors – an unorthodox promotional mix combined with high quality production yields measurable results.

The film enjoyed tremendous support from the Federal Government, Lagos State government, corporate and social Nigeria. Industry captains including, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, and Herbert Wigwe among many attended the premiere. Music superstars Banky W and Waje surprised fans with cinema Meet & Greet in malls across the country.

Speaking on the movie, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, said, “In the first instance, the premiere of the movie was unparalleled in Nigeria’s history. It attracted the creme de la creme of the society‎, all of whom were treated to a first-rate pre-show dinner that set the stage for the main act.

“The movie itself is a bold move that reflects life in its true sense.  The characters in the award winning movie were all flawed, but we love them all. We have no choice. We are all flawed.‎I’ll recommend the film any day and I am ready to watch it 10 times‎,” he added.

Controller BBC, Charlotte Moore, said: “really enjoyed it and it was great to watch it with such an enthusiastic audience.  It was funny, full of melodrama and disarmingly touching and courageous at the same time – a side of Lagos you don’t often get to see and a really original film. I loved the cast and characters and it was so refreshing to see a film that gave a voice to the fifty-something women of Nigeria. I’m sure it will be a massive hit!”

For the Vice President, Content and Creative at Turner Broadcasting (CNN parent company) Jane Mote, “it’s celebratory of Lagos, strong women and African success. It’s not high art; it’s popular entertainment that shows people and places in one of the fastest growing economies in a refreshing new light.”

Director British Council, Ojoma Ochai, “It was an amazing film — the music, costumes, story, and the elegance with which the plot was delivered. I loved it.”

A ‘Win Big with FIFTY’ promo was run nationwide with audiences walking away with weekly prizes including WaKaNow holidays, SPAR vouchers, and flat screen TVs courtesy of Konga. The grand prize, a brand new Mercedes Benz B-class courtesy Skymit Motors will be presented to a winner in April.

FIFTY has enjoyed rave reviews and international acclaim since it was first screened at the BFI London Film Festival 2015 including BBC, CNN, Vogue, and Essence and other national online and print titles.

The success of the movie has spawned a television series, which the movie executives announced that they will extend its success onto the small screen. The TV show will continue the premise that the movie set up – a week in the lives of four African women approaching the golden age of ‘Fifty’.

Details of whether the lead characters will reprise their film roles will be revealed in due course. Season 1 of FIFTY: The TV Series is set for production in the fourth quarter of the year, as scripting had already commenced. EbonyLife Films will release its second feature title The Wedding Party in December this year.

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