By BENJAMIN NJOKU
President of Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria, CEAN, Mr. Patrick Lee recently opened up on why they are showing more foreign films than local ones in the Nigerian box office.
Lee said their action become necessary following the high demand for foreign films by the theatre goers.
CEAN boss was responding to Nollywood producers, who accused the cinema owners of not only rivalling them in terms of film production, but also, devoting more time and space to foreign films at the detriment of local ones in the country’s box office.
However, defending the action of the cinema owners, while speaking at the maiden edition of Film4Life conference on the business of film making, organized in memory of late Chris Ekejimbe, which held recently in Lagos, Lee revealed that as business people they are responding to the needs of their customers.
According to him, following a research carried out by them on the type of films people like to watch, over 50 per cent of the respondents indicted interest in action movies, while 70 percent of others preferred to watch thriller and romance movies.
“Based on the research, as an exhibitor, I have to take that information very seriously. And so, when I’m doing my scheduling, I have to put that into consideration. For instance, if I have an action movie, be it a Hollywood film, the truth of the matter is that it’s what my customers want to see,” he explained.
Explaining further, Lee said cinema goers usually pay for three things; the story line, excitement level of the films and the special effects and stars featured in the movies. And these attributes are not lacking in when it comes Hollywood movies. “That’s how the look at Hollywood movies,” he said, adding “Hollywood movies doesn’t have to have fantastic story line, but if it has very good special effect, the audience will pay to watch the film.”
“Unfortunately, in terms of Nollywood, we haven’t gotten to that point of special effect. So, we have to compensate with something else. We haven’t reached the level, where we can pay huge amount of money to be able to get to that special effect level.”
Lee, however, urged the federal government to subsidized the amount paid by theatre goers to watch movies in the cinemas at least for five years. This, he said will encourage the cinema owners to start showing more Nollywood movies in the box office.