Four elements contribute to the success of a movie
at the box-office. They include good script,
experienced director, professional publicist, and
most importantly, the big name stars.
Of all the four, there is one a producer should never
violate at the market place and that is the 'star'
aspect of it. There could be a bad script,
inexperienced director and not too good publicity for
the movie but it is almost impossible to have Return
On Investment (ROI) with un-bankable stars.
Wikipedia defines a bankable star to be an actor
famous or charismatic enough to be "capable of
guaranteeing box-office success simply by showing
up in a movie". It is common knowledge that a Will
Smith will sell any movie no matter how bad as long
as he has his face on the jacket.
In Nigeria, some movie stars have proven again and
again that they can guarantee return on investment
as long as their faces adorn the poster. They are
Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Omoni
Oboli, Funke Akindele and Nse Ikpe-Etim. Or how
else could one explain the success of box office hits
like Mirror Boy, Ije, and Tango With Me all having
Genevieve Nnaji starring in them? And what about
Figurine and Anchor Baby which both starred Omoni
Oboli as the lead actress?
Mirror Boy, Tango With Me, Last Flight to Abuja
and Phone Swap all had sizeable negative reviews,
yet they topped the box office, made huge profit and
left many Hollywood movies far behind. Here, The
Entertainer takes a look at Nollywood's five
bankable actresses, their earnings and what is
possibly working for them.

Genevieve Nnaji

Topping the list of five is Genevieve Nnaji. Love or
hate her, Genny as she is fondly called, has a way
with cinema audiences that make them come back
again and again for her movies.
So far, Genevieve's starring in the movies has
grossed over N83 million at the box office. Mirror
Boy (described by the actress as her first major film
and the first to put her at the box-office) made N18
million, while Ije netted N60 million turning out to
be Nigeria's highest grossing movie ever. But
Genevieve had to share the money with Omotola,
who also acted alongside her. If the sharing formula
is 50-50, then Genevieve gets N30 million of the
total gross.
Genevieve's next movie, Tango with Me went on to
make N35 million. So, putting all the figures
together, Genny remains at the head of the pack.
What seem to be working for Genevieve are her
enduring power, popularity and social media
connection. The actress has been there for over a
decade and is still waxing stronger. Her wine seems
to taste better with age.
Another plus for Genny is her popularity. Genevieve
is hugely popular across Africa and most especially
among the youths. Before now, she has been very
active on the social media especially Twitter. She
even had to put up a Facebook advert after reports
emerged that some acts were ahead of her there.

Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde

Next on the list is Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde with box-
office gross of N60 million. She made N24 million
with Last Flight to Abuja, N6 million from Private
Storm and her N30 million share in Ije bring her
total earning to N60 million.
This year alone, no actress has made as much as
N24 million from a single movie; Funke Akindele
would have done so with The Return of Jenifa but
the movie hit the box office in 2011.
Omotola, who was reported to have been paid N5
million by Tarila Thompson all in the bid to make his
movie a blockbuster, has been described as the
biggest box office actress of 2012. She recorded
successes back to back but it remains to be seen if
she can pull off the box office magic again with
Amina and other movies coming in 2013.
Omotola has been an A-list actress even before
Genevieve got her first big break and so what has
been working for her is the wise investment in her
brand. Her enduring presence and unceasing
contact with her fans via the social media has made
her popular even in an environment where a mother
of four like her is not fashionable.

Funke Akindele

Surprisingly, the third person on the list is Funke
Akindele, a young lady who rose to fame in I Need
To Know, a TV series, and went on to earn a
monstrous fame with Jenifa.
Funke is an unlikely candidate on this list. Now, how
can one explain that she is third on a list parading
heavy weights like Omoni Oboli, Nse Ikpe-Etim and
Stephanie Okereke among others?
So far, Funke has made over N56 million, netting
over N20 million in 2012 alone. In The Return of
Jenifa, Funke netted N35 million. The movie ran till
February 2012. Her movie, Married but Living
Single made N9.9 million while Maami made N11
million. The actress is on her way to another cinema
glory with a movie, A Wish. Let's hope she will be
able to wave the magical wand again and create a
box-office success.
For Funke who recently got married, the plus factor
for her is her huge popularity among the masses and
elites. Her movie, Jenifa cuts across all social
groups with the street parlance in it becoming the
mode of communication in social gathering. And as
an icing on the cake, Funke has moved upscale, she
is now the toast of events organized by the rich and
not so rich. Her box office credibility transcends the
cinema as all DVDs parading her face turn into gold.

Omoni Oboli

Omoni Oboli, who is still largely unknown to those
who don't patronise the cinema and social media, is
fourth on the list. She is a silent achiever. Before
the trio of Genevieve, Omotola and Funke even
dreamt of hitting the box office, Omoni Oboli already
took the lead. Figurine, her first box office
appearance made N13 million while her second
effort, Anchor Baby made N18 million bringing her
total earning to N31million.
Omoni's strength is her exclusivity and knack for
quality. It is a known fact that if the project is not
big and ambitious, Omoni might not do it. The
disadvantage of that is, despite her box office
credibility, Omoni is still unknown in areas where
there is no access to cinemas. Perhaps, that is the
reason she tries to make up with the red carpet
For now, the exclusivity is working for Omoni;
perhaps her new movie, Broken and other works
will introduce a new twist. One other thing that
should not be forgotten is the unprecedented
publicity of Anchor Baby in 2010. The film also had
Omoni at the forefront of meeting and greeting of
fans at the cinemas.

Nse Ikpe-Etim

The fifth slot belongs to Nse Ikpe-Etim. She seems
to be the latest sensation in big budget movies. In
Mr and Mrs, Nse was a delight, her performance
was a reference point and it was a hook that kept
drawing people to the cinema while the movie was
Mr and Mrs made N6 million while another of her
film, Phone Swap made N20 million, making a total
of N26 million.
Too early for Nse to cement her place, as she hasn't
done N15 million back-to-back but one thing the
actress has made clear is that she has intention of
doing that. The leading four acts should be afraid of
Nse because her strength lies in her pure acting
Nse is born to act, deemed to be unnecessarily
assertive a times, but you can't accuse her of not
knowing her lines. And she pushes her movies with
virgour, moving from one cinema to the other.
However, Nse should watch it as many have accused
her of being too 'self-conscious', a term casually
used for budding stars who have 'over-hyped'
impression of themselves as this could alienate fans
who make the box-office count.
Rita Dominic and Stephanie Okereke
Rita Dominic and Stephanie Okereke should readily
make the list but they haven't appeared at the
cinemas more than once. Hopefully, Rita will break
into the list with The Meeting, Lion of 76 and Street
of Calabar while Stephanie already had N10 million
under her belt with Through the Glass.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. A
bankable star makes easier the job of a producer;
the absence of one, however, is not a ready-made
doom for a movie as Avatar and Slumdog Millionaire
(both global box office hits) have shown. But if one
would take a risk or err, it's better to err on the part
of caution.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

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