The Cinema Experience of the Days of Old and Now

The Cinema Experience of the Days of Old and Now

Imagine a world without a television set, mobile phone, very limited access to small radio handsets and retail stores where people in the community can buy goods, strange right? 

There was a time in Nigeria when this was the order of the day. This is no fable or fiction.


There were times in Nigeria when only a ‘big man’ who lived in an upscale area would be able to afford a television set and people would walk a mile or more to get a glimpse of this ‘heavenly wonder’ called a television set and obviously not mind walking back the long distance with joy, just to be able to relay their experience to the neighbour who couldn’t go. While at the big man’s house, they are allowed to hang around his window and watch from there.


The advent of the television set got people formally introduced to the movie world. It was the conduit at the time that made people pretty much interested in the act and art of movie making thereby, birthing the idea of the cinema. The emergence of cinemas in Nigeria started decades ago. 

It is also worthy to know that Glover Memorial Hall in Lagos in 1903 was where the first film was screened in Nigeria at the invitation of Sir Herbert Macaulay. He invited Balboa Film Company of Spain, an exhibition outfit and for 11 days, people gathered at the Glover Memorial Hall in Lagos Island and were entertained.

In the twinkle of an eye, different cinema houses came into the consciousness of Nigerians, the likes of Danjuma Cinema in Agege, Kings Cinema, Roxy Cinema, Jebako Cinema to mention a few. These cinema houses had plenty of Indian and Chinese films but most of these cinema houses unfortunately folded up in the late 90s. One of the major reasons for the sudden ‘demise’ of these cinema houses would be the emergence of the Video Home System (VHS) and the emergence of a few other television stations. 

Nigeria soon witnessed the birth of modern-day cinemas in choice areas of popular cities. Silverbird, Filmhouse, Genesis Deluxe, and Ozone cinemas emerged and have been keeping Nigerians across the nation glued to their cinema seats, little wonder why movie producers and directors are taking their works to the cinema distribution companies. 

The cinema experience in Nigeria these days is second to none as people flock to different cinemas to watch their preferred movies. These are indeed good times to be a filmmaker in Nigeria as films with good scripts do very well in different cinemas with the filmmakers smiling to the bank. 

What is often amusing is the fact that some Nollywood flicks even outsell foreign movies on display. The cinema business is definitely going through a major renaissance of some sort. 

Records of which film is the highest-grossing movie of all time keep changing every time. Before now, Nigerian movies don’t do well at the cinemas, but things have changed now as more and more people deliberately throng our cinemas just to watch Nigerian movies. 


Film distribution companies are also not left out of this cinematic revolution as they are the movie brokers who ensure the movie gets to the cinema. The major objective of these companies is to bring movies from different territories to the emerging Nigerian market.  

It is left to be seen what would happen to the cinema culture in Nigeria in the coming years as the factors that ended abruptly, the cinema houses of old even seem to be advancing the cause of the modern-day ones. Improvement in technology was one of the reasons the popular Danjuma cinema and other ones packed up but times have indeed changed with technology at its peak now. 

Now we even talk about the 3D experience and the 4DX; these are technologies equipped with environmental effects such as seat moving, wind, rain, lights, and scents. Technology certainly has nothing on these modern-day cinema hubs.

 It is certainly a good time to be alive and to witness these mind-blowing experiences in Nigerian cinemas. 


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