By population with over 178 million people and the largest African market and economy, Nigeria is regarded as the China of Africa and with a booming digital video film industry popularly called Nollywood, she has the commercial potentials of a big film industry and has attracted the interest of the IMAX Corporation, one of the world’s leading entertainment technology companies, specializing in immersive motion picture technologies. The worldwide IMAX® theatre network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event Hollywood films around the globe, with IMAX theatres delivering the world’s best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX, IMAX® 3D, and IMAX DMR® technology.
Nigeria has all the opportunities and possibilities for any serious investor in new markets for global film distribution and even with less than 70 screens without any IMAX cinema, Nollywood has made Nigeria the second largest producer of movies by numbers after India’s Bollywood and is now estimated to be worth over NG₦853.9 billion (US$5.1 billion) as at 2014 and actually boosted the rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria to make the country Africa’s largest economy under “Motion pictures, sound recording and music production,” with a huge increase of N9 trillion in size. Analysts stated Nollywood made about N1.72 trillion in 2013. And with more disposable income and increasing GDP, more Nigerians are going to the cinemas as local cinema chains are building more cinemas and IMAX has already sent it’s Vice President for Global Market Development, Giovanni Dolci to Lagos on a familiarization visit for feasibility study of the largest film industry in Africa.
Presently, there are over 800 commercial IMAX screens in 59 countries.
IMAX built it’s first large screen theater in China in 2001 and by next year 2015, there should be 200 IMAX screens in China and will continue to increase towards it’s goal of 400 screens in the most populous country on earth. China is the fastest-growing film market in the world and China passed Japan to become the world’s second-largest film market last year, according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Box office sales reached $3 billion throughNov. 19, a 43 percent increase from 2012, according to Rentrak Corp.
IMAX has big plans for Nigeria to increase it’s movie theaters in Africa where it currently has 8 cinemas with 5 in South Africa;1 in Morocco; 1 in Cairo and 1 in Kenya. The target in Nigeria is to have over 30 IMAX cinemas with the first IMAX stand alone plaza to be located in the mega city of Lagos with an estimated population of 21 million, making Lagos the largest city in Africa. The location selected is Festac Town, a Federal Housing Estate located along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway leading to the neigbouring countries of Benin, Togo and Ghana. It’s name is derived from the acronym FESTAC from the Second World African Festival of Arts and Culture that was held there in 1977. Festac Town is located in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, one of the 57 Local Government Councils that make up Lagos State. The local government area has a population of 1,500,000 people. Festac Town is about 15 minutes drive to the famous Alaba International Market (Electronics), the largest electronics market in Africa and the Lagos State University in the nearby Ojo Local Government. The town has over 5, 000 modern housing units comprising of tenements for low income earners to duplexes for high income earners situated on 7 avenues and accommodates over 150, 000 people, including over 45, 000 visitors. But it does not have a single cinema. So, the thousands of residents have to travel kilometers to the nearest cinemas located in other local government areas in the state.
The first IMAX theater in the largest city in Africa will be a tourist attraction in West Africa and will have no competition in Festac Town and the entire Amuwo Odofin in the next 10 years and so projected to attract over 3, 000 people daily, including movie lovers and tourists. The estimated annual revenue is over US$32 million in the first 12 months.
Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/Editor, Nigerians Report Online, CEO, International Digital Post Network Limited, CEO, Screen Outdoor Open Air Cinema (SOOAC), Executive Director, Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project; Author of Children of Heaven, Scarlet Tears of London,The Language of True Love, Bye, Bye Zimbabwe, In the House of Dogs, The Prophet Lied, Diary of the Memory Keeper, NOLLYWOOD MIRROR® Series and other books in print and electronic versions distributed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, Tower Books and other booksellers worldwide.