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As expected, the Nigerian 2023 national election has kept moviegoers indoors and stunted box office growth this past few days.
All hopes are now on one film to turn things around.
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On the 25th of February 2023, Nigerian electorates got the privilege of making use of their franchise to elect candidates of their choice into the presidential, senate, and house of representative positions. But the days leading up to this day and the few days after it have had an impact on the box office.
Compared to the beginning of the year when the tension between Funke Akindele’s Battle on Buka Street and James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water was at the peak, the weekly returns at the Nigerian cinema has been plummeting.
That week, with Battle on Buka Street earning N169.88 million and Avatar 2 making N93 million, a total of N438.63 million was made.
Toyin Abraham’s Ijakumo: The Born Again Stripper, among other titles at the box office that week, contributed to the figure. The film made a sum of N76.71 million, and that was its second week at the cinema.
Since that week, the week-on-week figures at the box office have been dropping.
Week 1 (30-12-22 – 05-01-23) — N438.63 million
Week 2 (06-01-23 – 12-01-23) — N207.93 million
Week 3 (13-01-23 – 19-01-23) – N124.06 million
Week 4 (20-01-23 – 26-01-23) — N87.60 million
Week 5 (27-01-23 – 02-02-23) – N84.34 million
Week 6 (03-02-23 – 09-02-23) — N65.79 million
Week 7 (10-02-23 – 16-02-23) — N81.18 million
Week 8 (17-02-23 – 23-02-23) — N94.64 million
Week 9 (24-02-23 – 02-03-23) — N34.70 million
An increase was recorded in Week 7, and that’s because it was Valentine’s week. As seen above, there was a severe decrease in week 9, and that is due to the presidential and national assembly elections held that week. The earning of the top movies on the chart that week were affected. Prior to that week, Ant-Man and the Wasp had opened with N58.28 million. However, in its second week (Week 9), it fell by 64% to gross a sum of N18.86 million.
The election week figure is greatly affected because most consumers are currently staying indoors, probably because of the fear of what might be the aftermath of the elections. But who knows, a new movie or two or three might be enough to bring them back to the box office.
Talking of movies bringing consumers back to the cinemas, can Creed III, released on the 3rd of March, deliver the Nigerian box office at this point?
Creed III is an American sports drama, directed by Michael B. Jordan. The movie stars Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Tessa Thompson, Florian Munteanu, Canelo Álvarez, and others. It is a sequel to Creed II (2018) and Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut.
Creed III has grossed $100 million globally since its debut. With this kind of achievement, the movie is expected to also witness a proportionate amount of success in Nigeria. It might just be the movie needed to put the Nigerian cinema figures back on track.
Notwithstanding, there will be another phase of the election (the governorship and state house of assemblies elections) in Nigeria on the 11th of March. This election period is expected to be the last phase of the drought now being experienced at the Nigerian box office. Following this season, new Nollywood titles and titles from other industries are expected to get released at the box office.
Juxtaposing this general election season to the last general election period in Nigeria, one will see that there is a slight similarity between the two. During the last election, the presidential and national house of assemblies elections were held on the 23rd of February 2019, while the governorship and state house of assemblies elections were held on the 2nd of March 2019.
Week 1 (28-12-18 – 03-01-19) – N341.77 million
Week 2 (04-01-19 – 10-01-19) – N170.87 million
Week 3 (11-01-19 – 17-01-19) – N104.18 million
Week 4 (18-01-19 – 24-01-19) – N91.40 million
Week 5 (25-01-19 – 31-01-19) – N77.25 million
Week 6 (01-02-19 – 07-02-19) — N68.29 million
Week 7 (08-02-19 – 14-02-19) – unpublished.
Week 8 (15-02-19 – 21-02-19) – N89.75 million
Week 9 (22-02-19 – 28-02-19) – N67.02 million
Week 10 (01-03-19 – 07-03-19) – N81.18 million
As the case is in the first week of most years, 2019 started off well with a whopping three-figure but in the weeks following it, a decrease is observed. In the week that the first round of elections was held that year, there was a fall from the figures earned in the week preceding it. It later observed a rise in the week of the second round of the election.
The 11th of March 2023 is the date for the governorship and state house of assemblies election, and the figures at the box office are predicted to likely experience another fall.
The presidential election held on the 25th of February had 18 candidates representing 18 political parties. However, four out of the candidates were spotlighted during the exercise. They were Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Peter Obi (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso (NNPP).
The election is the seventh conducted since the restoration of democratic rule to the country in 1999.
The 2019 presidential election was keenly contested between President Muhammadu Buhari (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (PDP). The APC won the election with 15,191,847 votes, while PDP garnered 11,262,978 votes. The former dominated in 19 states, while the latter won in 18 states.
In the last election, the APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was declared the winner on the 1st of March, having gathered 8,794,726 votes in 12 states. PDP had 6,984,520 votes, having topped in 12 states; LP had 6,101,533 votes, having led in 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory; and NNPP mustered 1,496,687 votes, dominating in 1 state.
The winner of the election was issued the certificate of returns on the 5th of March, 2023. Notwithstanding, the candidates of PDP and LP have vowed to challenge the election results in court.
While the election season winds up, gazes are high to see how cinemas will come back on their feet after the fall experienced due to the election. A breakthrough title or titles are needed to set the record back on track, but will Creed III be that title or one of the titles?
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