A MOVIE REVIEWS NG EDITORIAL
Late last year, I was having a conversation with my father about the creative industry and culture of Nigeria, and in that discussion, he revealed –to my utmost surprise- that Nigerians were at some point, addicted to reading comic books, especially ones made by stellar movie producer Mr Wale Adenuga MFR.
He in fact revealed that the characters of the acclaimed “Papa Ajasco and company” were based off the comic ‘Ikebe Super’. These magazines were so popular, that they were selling over half a million copies per episode as far back as the 1970s, and this opened my eyes to the type of impact that Mr Adenuga has had on the Nigerian television history.
In what can be described in a Nigerian Stan Lee manner, Mr Adenuga successfully created some of the most iconic television characters and some of the longest running series and soaps; from the aforementioned Papa Ajasco and Company, to ‘This Life’, Binta and Friends, and the legendary ‘Super story’. I bet you can hear all their distinct soundtracks in your head, just by reading the names.
However, over the last half decade or so, Wale Adenuga Productions (WAP) has lost its shares in the television market. This is largely due to the impact of technology on viewer’s behaviour, and this is not peculiar to Nigeria.
Netflix has gradually checkmated most television broadcasting networks across the world, and with the rise of new school studios like Ndani, Rok, Ebony Life, Africa Magic etc. who have consistently been curating exciting content, WAP needs to take colossal steps at improvement.
Most people who enjoyed WAP shows as children can barely stand them now, as there sadly has been a drastic change in user consumption pattern.
For the Easter holidays, WAP released a movie titled ‘Knock Out’, which featured a myriad of cast who had nothing to do with the core script, and ended up feeling like a forced comedy, with the cliché underdog story having way too many cameos.
With this in mind, it is important to note that the industry is fast moving away from these flaccid storylines into an internationally competitive one, and is leaving almost no room for catchup.
Some months ago, while I was scrolling through DSTV, I stumbled on WAP TV, and a Super Story Classic was on; that is old seasons were played again and again, and after watching for a couple of minutes, it dawned on me yet again, the role Wale Adenuga MFR played in introducing actors and actresses into the industry. We refer to many of these actors as veterans now but the WAP company itself is just shy of that status.
Suffice to say, with accurate positioning, WAP can outlive Mr Adenuga Snr, just like Disney did Walt and Pixar did Steve jobs.
The company should go back to what made them successful – great stories. Not just great stories, but contemporary ones. Working with dynamic new creatives and storytellers, coupled with the experience of his team, could lead to the creation of content never before seen at a quality hitherto unheard of in the industry. With great stories, good online platforms, mobile applications and re branding, the company can be a force to reckon with again.
The company will attract investments and sponsorship that most new school companies won’t be able to command. because of the fidelity it has built over the years.