It was a poor turnout for Iyabo Ojo’s “Silence” movie at the Silverbird Cinemas, Ikeja, Lagos, last Friday and Saturday. The film scheduled to screen on Friday at the Silverbird Cinemas in Port Harcourt, Ikeja and Uyo, was shunned by many movie-goers who trooped out to watch more hilarious and exciting films. The film was not listed for showing at other Silverbird Cinemas at the Galleria, Lagos, Sec, Abuja, Ceddi, Abuja, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, and Warri, Delta State.
On Friday, when it was originally scheduled to start showing in Ikeja, Lagos, it recorded a poor turn-out, and the management was forced to shift the schedule and allocate another film to screen in the hall. On Saturday at 12: 15 pm, according to NollywoodNewsNow’s correspondent at the cinema, the lead actress in the movie, Iyabo Ojo was present, looking lost and full of bewilderment at the poor turn-out. She walked into the cinema hall with exactly 12 people to watch the film. While the film was showing, not less than four people walked out and never came back.
Inside the hall, viewers apparently aware of her presence, talked in hush tones, criticising the quality of the movie. One of the disillusioned moviegoers complained that the movie did not sufficiently treat the theme of child abuse, besides, he added, it was boring.
“I thought Nollywood has gone beyond this level. Imagine poor picture, boring acting, just shouting…she has really abused the child in the movie. We have watched a good number of Nollywood films here and people kept coming back, but this is not a good movie for cinema. Let it stay at Ebinpejo Lane or Alaba, not here.”
Walking out of the cinema, Mrs Bimpe Alade, asked NNN’s correspondent if she could be refunded when she was asked to comment on “Silence.” “I think I should keep silent. You see, I knew it the moment most of the people here were not asking for the ticket of the film to buy and I thought about it, but I just made the move when I saw her around, but now, I wish I could ask her to refund my money. I don’t blame her anyway, I blame Silverbird that scheduled the yeye film.”
NNN’s checks revealed other Nigerian films have continued to record impressive turnout of moviegoers at every schedule. For instance, AY’s “30 Days In Atlanta” is still showing with huge and spiral grossing record at the cinemas. It has been screening to audiences across the nation since December 1st, 2014.
Other Nollywood movies with good records include “Folly,” “Champagne,” “Don’t Cry For Me.”
“Silence,” a movie ‘on child abuse, its consequence and how it can be overcome’ may have suffered because of many factors, namely, paucity of reviews, poor media mention (Publicity), and the profile of the lead actor and producer. The movie starring Joseph Benjamin, Alex Usifo, Tina Mba, Faithia Balogun, Doris Simeon and Ronke Ojo is full of deviation from the central theme, embellishes, excludes and under-emphasizes. As the executive producer and lead actor, it is sheer grandstanding, that she parades a couple of compelling actors as characters but she chose her sombre looking face, the bloodied face of her daughter with Joseph Benjamin tucked in the middle of the movie’s poster. Sad and blo*dy faces in a new year? A lot of movie-goers looked at the poster with jaundiced eyes, they could barely recognise her or identify with her as a popular actress known for quality, didactic movies. “Silence,” would not keep audiences guessing what’s coming next from Iyabo, since the film was not better than her previous works. Though with 13,000 followers on Twitter, the film showing in cinemas was only tweeted once or twice since Friday by two of her followers, an indication of her total disconnect with fans and followers on social media. “Silence” is no doubt a test of her fame and a lesson to go and learn how to do it better.
However, reacting to the story, Iyabo Ojo denies that ‘Silence’ is being received with dead silence in an empty cinema hall. Her claim is also corroborated by Ayotunde Bababunmi, Head of Production Silverbird. According to Bababunmi, “There are processes for pulling out a movies, and Silence has not had a single issue with us,” he said.