Asaba, the capital of Delta State, south-south, Nigeria, is a hobnob of Nollywood film productions that we know today. Fascinating places like historic sites, monuments, homes of famous people, beautiful hotels, picturesque waterfalls and creeks and general peaceful atmosphere attract many filmmakers to shoot their movies in the city.
These Asaba movies are what we know as home videos because they are straight to DVD formats. A lot of people have formed their opinions about the Nigerian movie industry based on what they have seen in these movies. Which is not always good. The general verdict is Asaba movies are low budget and amateur based on production quality. Despite the low opinions, they are still trending. And we wonder why. Here are the reasons.
1. They have a huge market base
Asaba movies are like MTN– everywhere you go. It is no rocket science that a successful business must have a huge market base. Asaba movies are like that with endless patronage from market women, drivers, farmers, teachers, students and just ordinary people both home and abroad. These people make up the majority of the population. The distribution channels are straightforward. Marketers buy the movies from filmmakers and make sure they are distributed to every nook and cranny of the country and beyond.
2. Catchy Storylines
If there is something Asaba movies are good at, it is telling catchy stories. They don’t attempt to copy Hollywood like the new Nollywood cinema and end up with wannabe Hollywood movies. They come down to the level of an average Nigerian. These stories are catchy because they are what anyone can identify with. That market woman doesn’t care about the production quality. As far as she’s concerned, so what the production quality is low? As long as the story is interesting, it is the best movie ever!
3. Very accessible and cheap
Unlike cinema movies, Asaba movies are cheap. You have to pay up to 1k excluding popcorn and drinks to watch just one movie in the cinema. That farmer in the village doesn’t know what is called cinema. Give him that 1k and he will binge on not less than five different movies. Very cheap. And you don’t have to travel a thousand miles to get these movies or too much data to download them online. They are at the nearest market.
4. Asaba movies make Nollywood stars
Pete Edochie, Nkem Owoh, John Okafor (Mr. Ibu), Chiwetalu Agu, Patience Ozokwo, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw and other stars are all products of Asaba movies. Although, most of them have transitioned to cinema movies, there is no denying that they wouldn’t have been where they are now if they hadn’t starred in these movies. Some of them like Nkem Owoh and Chiwetalu Agu still retain their roots in acting by still featuring in these movies despite moving on to the more profitable cinema. As a matter of fact, there is no star we know today that hasn’t featured in Asaba movies. It is a fact that continues till this day. Asaba movies make Nollywood stars.
5. More job opportunities in Asaba movies
Due to the open structure of the old Nollywood/Asaba, aspiring filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, directors and other crew members have a better chance of establishing themselves than in any other film distribution platform. Asaba movies’ annoying mediocrity and cheapness may be Nollywood’s biggest weakness. But they are also part of its biggest strengths. One can make all manner of mistakes and not lose so much investments as compared to the cinema counterpart. They serve as school of learning for would-be megastars. Like it did for Edochie and Genevieve, Asaba movies continue to make stars who probably would not have been given the same opportunities in other platforms.
Whether Asaba movies are low budget, mediocre and lack world standard, they remain the biggest part of Nollywood. These movies made Nollywood what it is today- second largest film industry in the world in terms of volume and second highest revenue generator in Nigeria. They didn’t achieve that feat for nothing. In spite of their obvious flaws, Asaba movies will continue to sell anywhere in Nigeria and diaspora.
Do you know more reasons why Asaba movies will always sell? Share with us in the comment section.