A major player in the resurging Nigerian cinema and theatre industry, which was only dampened this year by the Covid-19 induced lockdown, has expressed optimism that the nation’s cinema and theatre industry will bounce back with a surge in cinema and box office revenues as well as the full theatre hall attendance within the shortest period, despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has slowed global economic activities for months.
At a very difficult time when the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on global businesses, the Nigerian cinema industry which is estimated to be worth between $10 billion and $11 billion, has found ways to thrive despite the adverse impacts occasioned by the global pandemic.
Moses Olumuyiwa Babatope, group executive director of Filmhouse Cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production, in an exclusive interview with Business A.M., told of the realities faced by the cinema and theatre industry in Nigeria under the coronavirus but expressed optimism that the industry will bounce back and be more resilient with higher revenues, post-COVID. “The challenges have been really one of the pain points.
The cinema business felt the brunt of the pandemic which saw key players in the industry experience a dip in revenue for almost six and a half months. We have had to lay off staffs due to the loss of revenue on the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic; there was stocks loss and the wearing out effects on the pieces of machinery.
“There has been an upward trajectory of slow growth within the industry since the start of the crises. The negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as government’s directives on the shutdown of cinemas across Nigeria, have seriously reared its ugly head to disrupt the operation of businesses within the sector,” Babatope said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian cinema industry’s growth, over the years has been largely driven by the quality of film productions as well as the transparency and accountability of the Nigerian box office which is valued at over $6.4 billion as at 2018 by industry analysts.
Babatope who presides over Filmhouse, the largest cinema chain in West Africa with over 45 per cent market share of the entire Nigerian cinema houses, told Business A.M. that he is very optimistic about the future of the industry despite the setbacks from the crisis.
He disclosed that it is the utmost wish and faith from every practitioner in the industry that theater halls will be filled to capacity soon, stating that films can play a transformative and tremendous role in the development of the Nigerian economy