This report looks at the underperformance of The Trade and why this happened despite excellent reviews. Read on!
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The Trade, by Foresight Global Films, was released at the Nigerian box office on the 13th of January, 2023.
The crime-drama title was written and directed by Jade Osiberu and co-produced with David Musa. The film stars Ali Nuhu, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Rita Dominic, Shawn Faqua, Nengi Adoki, and Stan Nze.
The movie tells the story of a notorious kidnap kingpin whose targets are wealthy and highly-respected people in the country. In spite of all attempts by security operatives to apprehend him, all bids prove abortive until he kidnaps the CEO of the biggest transport company in the country.
On the weekend of its release, the film made a weekend gross of N4.8 million. Distributed by FilmOne, it showed in 53 locations across the country. After one week at the cinemas, it made N7.25 million. It was the fifth film on the leaderboard that week at the cinema after Battle on Buka Street, Ijakumo: The Born Again Stripper, Avatar: The Way of Water, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
In its second weekend, the film raked in N3.35 million to push its total cume to N10.60 million. It grossed N5.49 million in its second week to make a total of N12.74 million. At this time, it was showing in 50 locations across the country. It dropped to being the 6th movie at the box office.
The number of screens streaming the film reduced to 40 in its third week, and it dropped to number 8 on the leaderboard. That weekend, it made N1.57 million to make a total of N14.33 million. In the third week, the film made N2.71 million, making a gross cume of N15.50 million.
With just N15.50 million in three weeks, The Trade cannot be said to be meeting the expectations of its producers.
It is necessary to mention that the title is currently faced with multiple competitors at the box office. Some of the competitive titles include Battle on Buka Street, which grossed N48.71 million in the week The Trade debuted; Ijakumo: The Born Again Stripper, which earned N22.74 million that week; and Avatar: The Way of Water, which made N21.37 million.
On the 27th of January, Plane also joined the box office competition. In the week of its debut, which was The Trade‘s third week, the film opened with N21.03 million. It ranked as the second movie in cinemas that week. The week after it, it took the number one position from Battle on Buka Street.
It’s no exaggeration to say that The Trade market did not sell and didn’t capture consumers’ attention.
Like in every form of business, marketing is very germane, and when not done properly and thoroughly, it can affect the eventual success of the business. Just as creating any product is important, marketing it rightly so that it can get to the right audience is very crucial.
In the case of The Trade, a major factor that can be ascribed to its low performance is its short-term marketing. In the history of Nollywood, and even Hollywood, or any movie industry, most of the titles that have gone ahead to do so well are titles that employ long-term marketing. Funke Akindele’s titles like Omo Ghetto: The Saga and Battle on Buka Street are examples of Nollywood titles that used long-term marketing, and the results are there to speak for them.
The first marketing materials for The Trade began rollout on the 30th of December, 2022, 13 days into the beginning of its theatrical exhibition.
Another thing that can contribute to a movie’s success is its publicity by its cast and crew members. Though this might not really be a serious point, it shows, in a way, that they have confidence in the work they have done on the project and that they are proud that the audience can go see it.
For one, when cast and crew publicize any project they work on, it makes the audience eager to see such films, especially if the cast and crew members are big names in the industry.
With keen observation of many popular Nigerian flicks, one will notice that the publicity of films by directors isn’t guaranteed.
As noticed on socials, the director of the title did not make any awareness about the film when its theatrical date was revealed.
This occurrence is also the same in the case of many other Nigerian titles. This includes Chief Daddy 2 whereby the director also made no publicity despite being this credit. Brotherhood‘s director likewise made no publicity about the title. It was even rumored that he wanted to have his name off the project.
Is this a worrying trend or it is just a case of relationship fallouts?
As the writer, director, and producer of the film, one would expect that Jade Osiberu should be all over the internet to sell the film, but that didn’t happen and it was well noticed by the market.
In an exclusive with the co-producer of The Trade, David Musa mentioned to Shock that the production team of the movie worked on it for four years before it finally debuted on the 13th of January, 2023.
“Like people say, “every good thing takes time”. Principal photography was done in 2019, and post-production took a while because we had to do some things over again just to ensure we have the best quality. We also had to settle in-house too,” he said.
“This was 2018 and we made a film with a sizable budget. We also spent a lot of time in post-production. From a technical point of view, we didn’t take any chances. Our sound was done outside the country because we wanted to make sure any product we were bringing was up to global standards,” he added.
When asked how his team managed ROI, he said, “What we knew was we wanted to make a great movie and use the number of screens available in cinemas at that point, then push it to a film festival to get interest from people in various regions for licensing and rights selling.
“We looked at all the options and came up with a plan and concluded that by the time we got to the SVOD, we would have realized what we spent and that would have encouraged the company to do another one.”
From his remarks, it should be expected that the film might head to film festivals and then streaming platforms after its theatrical run.
The Trade is still showing on the big screen, Go see it before it’s pulled off.
Blossom Chkwujewu is a delight as a Nigerian kidnapper in this flick.
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