Wives on strike… Oboli’s filmic ingenuity in depressed economy
At a time in Nigeria when people are adjusting to the economic crunch and every available kobo counts, a sector of the economy that is still making waves is being ignored. Welcome to Nollywood!
Within the last three weeks, notable actress and filmmaker, Omoni Oboli, has been going against the current of economic events and defying the odds. Her movie, Wives on Strike, has not only been doing well at the cinemas, but the movie has also beaten the much talked about Batman Vs Superman and other Hollywood titles at the cinema. It reportedly made N15million in three days and about N51 million within 17 days of its theatrical run. This is in spite of the fact that Nigerians have been staying in long queues for petrol. How is that possible? The social media space has been buzzing from testimonies that are largely unsolicited, from audiences around the country.
Wives on Strike is centered on a very sensitive issue that must have taken a lot of bravery to tackle. Given the issue of the child bride, and the division it causes among different groups in Nigeria, even at the National Assembly, one would have thought that many people would be offended by it. But that is not the case! In fact, another movie, Dry, produced by Stephanie Linus, which is a brilliant movie but with a more serious undertone, addresses the same issue of child bride, but it did not do well at the cinemas.
So, notwithstanding the shortcomings of this theme, Oboli still went ahead to produce and screen Wives On Strike at the cinemas. Where others failed, she may have scored high because of her comedic approach to the subject matter. Suffice to add that notable actors like Uche Jombo, Chioma Akpotha, Kenneth Okonkwo, Kalu Ikeagwu, Ufuoma McDermott, Kehinde Bankole, Julius Agwu and so many others brought their experience to bear in the interpretation of their roles. A few of them had been missing for some time on the big screens.
Indeed, the movie has been well received across the nation. It is breaking records and setting standards in the midst of a recession. It has also thrown up one or two business lessons that Oboli’s colleagues in Nollywood must note; the glaring lesson is that Oboli has indeed proven that some movies or businesses will do well when well packaged to suit a targeted demographic and delivered in the desired language. Nollywood has definitely come of age and Oboli’s Wives on Strike has left movie audiences thirsting for more.