Four elements contribute to the success of a movie at the box-office. They include good script, experienced director, professional publicist, and most importantly, the big name stars.
Of all the four, there is one a producer should never violate at the market place and that is the ‘star’ aspect of it. There could be a bad script, inexperienced director and not too good publicity for the movie but it is almost impossible to have Return On Investment (ROI) with un-bankable stars.
Wikipedia defines a bankable star to be an actor famous or charismatic enough to be “capable of guaranteeing box-office success simply by showing up in a movie”. It is common knowledge that a Will Smith will sell any movie no matter how bad as long as he has his face on the jacket.
In Nigeria, some movie stars have proven again and again that they can guarantee return on investment as long as their faces adorn the poster. They are Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Omoni Oboli, Funke Akindele and Nse Ikpe-Etim. Or how else could one explain the success of box office hits like Mirror Boy, Ije, and Tango With Me all having Genevieve Nnaji starring in them? And what about Figurine and Anchor Baby which both starred Omoni Oboli as the lead actress?
Mirror Boy, Tango With Me, Last Flight to Abuja and Phone Swap all had sizeable negative reviews, yet they topped the box office, made huge profit and left many Hollywood movies far behind. Here, The Entertainer takes a look at Nollywood’s five bankable actresses, their earnings and what is possibly working for them.
Topping the list of five is Genevieve Nnaji. Love or hate her, Genny as she is fondly called, has a way with cinema audiences that make them come back again and again for her movies.
So far, Genevieve’s starring in the movies has grossed over N83 million at the box office. Mirror Boy (described by the actress as her first major film and the first to put her at the box-office) made N18 million, while Ije netted N60 million turning out to be Nigeria’s highest grossing movie ever. But Genevieve had to share the money with Omotola, who also acted alongside her. If the sharing formula is 50-50, then Genevieve gets N30 million of the total gross.
Genevieve’s next movie, Tango with Me went on to make N35 million. So, putting all the figures together, Genny remains at the head of the pack. What seem to be working for Genevieve are her enduring power, popularity and social media connection. The actress has been there for over a decade and is still waxing stronger. Her wine seems to taste better with age.
Another plus for Genny is her popularity. Genevieve is hugely popular across Africa and most especially among the youths. Before now, she has been very active on the social media especially Twitter. She even had to put up a Facebook advert after reports emerged that some acts were ahead of her there.
Next on the list is Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde with box-office gross of N60 million. She made N24 million with Last Flight to Abuja, N6 million from Private Storm and her N30 million share in Ije bring her total earning to N60 million.
This year alone, no actress has made as much as N24 million from a single movie; Funke Akindele would have done so with The Return of Jenifa but the movie hit the box office in 2011.
Omotola, who was reported to have been paid N5 million by Tarila Thompson all in the bid to make his movie a blockbuster, has been described as the biggest box office actress of 2012. She recorded successes back to back but it remains to be seen if she can pull off the box office magic again with Amina and other movies coming in 2013.
Omotola has been an A-list actress even before Genevieve got her first big break and so what has been working for her is the wise investment in her brand. Her enduring presence and unceasing contact with her fans via the social media has made her popular even in an environment where a mother of four like her is not fashionable.