According to new research by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), Nigerians overcame the economic downturn to spend ₦167,456,047 on movie tickets during the Easter holidays this year.
On April 12, the Federal Government, through the Interior Ministry declared Friday, April 15 and Monday, April 18 as public holidays to enable Christians to commemorate the annual Easter celebration.
At the weekend leading to the celebration, Nigerians spent a little over ₦90 million (₦90,599,563) to see Nigerian and international movies at cinemas across the country. Per CEAN data, cinema owners operating across the country recorded 44,046 admissions between April 8 and 10.
The figures improved at Easter. Both cinema admissions and revenue from movie tickets rose significantly. Cinema admissions moved by 43.7% to 78,260 admissions. Similarly, movie tickets revenue grew by 46% to gross ₦167,456,047.
Figures from cinema visits during this year’s Easter suggest Nigerians kept the norm. During every festive period, you’ll find young and old citizens sharing the fun of the season in a couple of ways: visiting friends and family, and spending time at parks, restaurants and cinemas.
20 film releases, including Nigerian and international movies, featured in the report tagged ‘Easter Special’.
King of Thieves, an epic Nigerian tale garnered the highest preference and earnings – 28,158 admissions and ₦61,129,000 in revenue. American action-adventure comedy film, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 followed closely in the second spot with 14,880 visits and ₦31,265,642 in revenue.
Another American movie, Morbius ranked third with ₦19,283,410 in revenue and 8,504 cinema admissions. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, The Blood Covenant, K.G.F: Chapter 2, The Bad Guys, Uncharted, God is African and A Simple Lie all made the top 10 cuts on the list.
Also, CEAN ranked Batman in the 11th spot, Turning Red; 12th, The Serpent; 13th, I am Nazzy; 14th and The Contractor in the 15th spot. Nollywood, the sobriquet for the Nigerian movie industry, took most of the spots from the 16th to the 20th spots: City Hustlers (16), Olawura (17), and Mama’s Big Stick (20). American movie Ambulance placed 18th, and Bollywood action drama, RRR picked the 19th spot.
Movie tickets since 2020
In 2020, the Nigerian cinema industry endured a global pandemic – COVID-19. the industry became one of the worst-hit, as it recorded zero activity and revenue for six months (late March-late September) occasioned by the lockdown and safety measures imposed by the government at the peak of the fight against the pandemic.
When cinemas reopened in September 2020, analysts expressed fears about the challenges brought about by safety measures – cinemas operating at 60 per cent capacity – and the influx of low-quality foreign content.
The industry barely took home ₦1.2 billion in movie ticket sales in that eventful year.
But, as lockdowns phased out and everyone could come out again, the industry’s fortunes improved in movie ticket sales. According to the CEAN, revenue from movie ticket sales doubled 202o’s figures in 2021. Cinema exhibitors made ₦2.4 billion from selling tickets.
The trend has continued this year, with the movie ticket sales during the Easter holidays helping to sustain this. And, there is a commendable shift in all of this: more Nigerians are appreciating and picking local movies above foreign movies.
From the CEAN data, Nigerians seem to have an unrelenting love for the big screen, particularly during festive periods. One thing is clear: that’s not about to change.
In the coming months, there’s a certainty that Nigerians will spend more on watching local movies. And this will be a big boost for the cinema industry. The industry is seeking to deepen revenue from the last two years and recover completely from a dark phase that kept people away from visiting the cinemas.
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