Nollywood is currently raving about Netflix’s acquisition of Genevieve Nnaji’s yet-to-be released movie titled “Lion Heart”.
The likes of Richard Mofe- Damijo, Mo Abudu, Uche Jombo, Rita Dominic and Osas Ighodaro have all taken to social media to express delight in response to the feat.
Netflix announced it had acquired the worldwide rights for the film on Friday, the eve of its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.
Netflix, Inc. is one of the largest providers of streaming television and movie content on the Internet. It currently boasts over 117.6 million subscribers and partners with content providers to license streaming rights for a variety of TV shows and movies.
They include Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, BoJack Horseman, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and many more. These productions are called Netflix originals.
The deal is a significant milestone for Nollywood, which was recently named the world’s most prolific film industry by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations. Its widely known that when Netflix brands a movie as a Netflix Original, for example, it puts a lot more marketing behind it. This includes billboards and heavy promotion in the press
While Lionheart is not the only Nigerian movie listed on the American movie streaming platform, it is the first original Nollywood film to be bought by the American movie streaming platform.
Some Nollywood films currently showing on Netflix include The Wedding Party, Fifty, The Visit, When Love Happens, Road to Yesterday and Dearest Mummy.
While the exact figures haven’t been made public, streamingmedia.com (a leading authority on online video for entertainment) stated that Netflix might pay $3 million to own exclusive rights to a production.
“Deals vary, but in general, Netflix pays two-thirds more than studios. One reason Netflix and Amazon are willing to pay more is because they often want exclusive rights in perpetuity. They want worldwide distribution so movie lovers who hear about a certain indie film can only see it on their platform. They’re award-eligible, that doesn’t always happen,” the website noted.
The movie is Genevieve’s directional debut, and features, Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie and Onyeka Onwenu.
Genevieve was also a guest on CNN’s Richard Quest on Quest Means Business on Tuesday night. During the interview, she shared details about the movie including how it was funded.
”For money, we had to self-fund unfortunately. We don’t have adequate funding for movies that we actually intend to go global, there isn’t that provision yet. Nollywood stands a good chance of going global anytime soon, but language is the only problem that stands as a barrier.”
She also added that her movie, ‘Lionheart’, appealed to Netflix because the production team focused on the quality of the movie.
“I think the authenticity of the story which was what I loved about it. It provided an environment where I could showcase the things that made me proud of our culture, our talent and our values. We focused on quality this time.”
Lion Heart premiered at the TIFF festival on Saturday. The movie captures the challenges of a female in a male-dominated industry.
It is a story of Adaeze, a young lady who steps up to the challenge when her father, Ernest Obiagu, is forced to take a step back from his company due to health issues.
She works with her crude and eccentric brother to save the family business in dire financial straits resulting in crazy and often hilarious results.
The Nigerian stars joined renowned movie practitioners that include Danny Glover, Ryan Gooslin, Quincy Jones, Steve McQueen at the film festival.
Speaking on the implications of Genevieve’s feat for Nollywood, Filmmaker, Charles Uwagbia, said on Wednesday that “It’s a good sign.”
“It means that we have indeed captured the attention of Hollywood and the world at large. What this means is that we need to churn out more quality movies, which are worthy of such recognition. I am proud to belong to Nollywood and even happier that I’m witnessing this in my time. Don’t forget that some Nigerians were recently inducted into the Oscars jury, so this means that Nollywood’s Oscar dream is here,” he noted.