Disney is partnering with a Nigerian movie production and distribution company to market some of the new movies produced by the American entertainment company in English-speaking West Africa,.with movies like “Mulan”.
The agreement makes FilmOne Entertainment the exclusive distributor of Disney owned films in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia.
“It is a great moment in our career to have secured the world’s largest film studio as a partner,” Moses Babatope, director of FilmOne.
FilmOne Entertainment is at the forefront of Nigeria’s growing film culture and has built cinemas throughout the country, including IMAX screens.
The company has also distributed and produced Nigerian box office hits such as “The Wedding Party” and “New Money”.
“The agreement means that we are the exclusive distributor of Disney titles in the English-speaking countries of West Africa, with the cinemas having studio licenses”.
We will distribute the films in all the cinemas in the region,” he explained.
The agreement, which began this month, includes titles from all divisions of the Disney studios, including Pixar, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures and Blue Sky.
“With their deep knowledge of the region and their experience in providing fan releases, we are pleased to welcome FilmOne as our distribution partner for this territory,” said Christine Service, Country Manager of Disney Africa, in a statement.
According to analysts in the country, this agreement could convince investors and film producers to take a closer look at the African film industry.
“This deal is huge because it means Disney is careful Their presence can open the door to film collaborations,” said Shola Thompson, a film consultant based in Nigeria.
Thompson added that the distribution of Disney films is a way to bring the best content to theaters, which can both strengthen the region’s film culture and increase its revenue potential.
Due to restrictions imposed in the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic, many West African cinemas are underutilized. However, FilmOne Entertainment says it is working to improve the cinema experience to encourage people to continue going to the cinema even after all restrictions have been lifted.
“We will let people know that they enjoy watching movies more when they watch them with other people. To say that the out-of-home experience is very different,” Babatope said.
“We’ll let people know that theaters are safe in our communication. We will document what theaters do in terms of integrating security procedures,” he added.
The agreement with Disney is not the first time an entertainment multinational has worked with West African film companies.
In 2019, FilmOne Entertainment signed a contract with Chinese media giant Huahua to co-produce the first major Sino-Nigerian film.
In the same year, French media giant Canal+ acquired Nollywood’s leading film studio, ROK, to produce more hours of Nigerian content for its French-speaking audience.
Thompson, who is also a film analyst, argues that the growing influence of entertainment companies like Disney on the continent could create room for more Hollywood influence in Africa without the content of African films having a corresponding Hollywood influence.
“We must be a little careful not to lose creative control of our stories. As more and more multinational companies in Africa are looking for partnerships, we don’t want to accept that they dictate what we start producing,” he said.
“At the same time, we can always be happy that they pay attention to us because it means growth for our film industry,” he added.
As FilmOne Entertainment prepares to begin distributing Disney content, Babatope sees this partnership as an opportunity that could lead to future collaborations with largely African content.
“It’s true that much of the content we will distribute comes from other parts of the world, but if we can demonstrate that we are responsible and transparent, there will be room for future investments involving content from this region.