• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Nollywood shines at ‘Wakanda Forever’ premiere

Wakanda Forever cracks N1 billion in Nigerian cinemas

The premiering of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, a long-awaited movie, in Lagos shined the spotlight on the Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood.

Disney and Marvel Studios made history on the African continent with the premiere on Sunday, influencing the global perspectives of African storytelling culture.

The film, which is set in the Marvel Universe’s dystopian African region of Wakanda, explores ideologies for a large global audience in order to increase indigenous capacity and global talent exports in filmmaking.

Ryan Coogler, the movie director, said history should be preserved, adding that ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ has come to represent Africa.

“For filmmakers, Lagos has a lot of history and cultural significance. The movie was influenced by various African regions, but the Nigerian culture has a distinctive energy that is difficult to miss,” he said.

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, a sequel to the 2018 box office hit movie, ‘Black Panther, is an American action superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character.

Ahead of its cinema release globally on Friday (today), it had its African premiere in Nigeria, making history in the Nigerian entertainment industry as it was the first Marvel Studios’ premiere in the region.

Diversity and equity inclusion are a cornerstone of Disney’s business, according to Christine McCarthy, chief financial officer of Walt Disney Company.

She said: “It is the company’s strategic imperative. We have the great privilege of having our content travel the world and having the hearts and minds of audiences captured everywhere.

“The ability to reach audiences all over the world and capture their hearts and minds is a great privilege for us. As a result, it is our company’s enormous responsibility to ensure that our audiences are accurately reflected in the stories we tell and that their worlds and settings are clearly depicted.”

She said the company has committed millions of dollars to produce content for various distribution arms around the world including Africa.

Read also: Afrobeats artists dominate ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ album

“It’s a great example of taking stories from this continent and giving them a global platform. So there is plenty in the pipeline of African stories and we couldn’t be more excited about showcasing it to our diverse audiences.”

Disney and Kugali animated series ‘Iwaju’, which was announced in its D23 Expo, explores a futuristic version of Lagos and is set to be released on the company streaming platform, ‘Disney Plus’, in 2023.

The series has been seen by the company as part of its diversity and equity inclusion as it collaborated with the Nigerian-based entertainment company in making the series.

Chioma Ude, a Nigerian entertainment executive and founder of the Africa International Film Festival, said Black Panther has been a movie that gets every African to believe that they can do likewise. “It has changed the way we see things and also changed the way we want to pursue the future of the movie industry,” she said.

She said the Nigerian film industry aims to be indigenous to the world and tell those real African stories.

Moses Babatunde, executive director of FilmOne Distribution and Production in Nigeria, said: “Arguably ‘Wakanda Forever’ premiering in Nigeria is the biggest entertainment event this month and the timing couldn’t be better.”

Speaking about the filmmaking business and what ‘Black Panther’ will do for cinema penetration in the country, he said the film would be the billboard and game changer that will help boost the movie industry and investment.

Babatunde predicted that the ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ would break box office records and investment set by its predecessor ‘Black Panther’.

He said the cinema industry has recovered 95 percent from COVID-19, and by the time the movie will be released in the cinema, it will be on track for a record-breaking year in box office earnings.