The Neglect of Storytelling in Nigerian Cinema: A Recipe for Box Office Failure


In the Nigerian film industry, there is a recurring trend of movies failing to resonate with audiences, despite impressive cinematography and production quality. The culprit, in my opinion, is the prioritization of “film academic exercises” over entertaining storytelling. Many emerging and established filmmakers approach storytelling with a Western mindset, neglecting the cultural nuances that shape our unique African experiences.


Cinema may have a universal language, but story is culturally specific. What constitutes tragedy for Africans may not be the same for Western audiences. For instance, childbearing is highly valued in African cultures, whereas adoption is more accepted in Western societies. These cultural differences significantly impact storytelling.


While fantastic cinematography is important, it is not enough to guarantee success. Audiences rarely discuss camera angles or picture quality after leaving the cinema; they discuss the story. Story is king, and neglecting it can lead to failure. To achieve success, filmmakers must spend time developing a compelling story, casting suitable actors, and selecting a director with a clear vision.


Marketing also plays a crucial role, accounting for 20% of a film’s success. However, relying on gimmicks to compensate for a weak story will not yield desired results. It is time for Nigerian filmmakers to prioritize storytelling and cultural relevance to create films that truly resonate with their audience.


In conclusion, the neglect of storytelling in Nigerian cinema is a recipe for box office failure. By focusing on developing strong stories that reflect our unique cultural experiences, we can create films that captivate audiences and propel the industry forward.


Written by Adesina Kasali


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