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KESA OPINION: Cameroonian film makers should ease on prices of movie premier tickets

So, I recently noticed that ticket prices for the premiers of films by English Speaking film makers are more expensive than those from their French speaking counterparts.

French: The recently concluded Henanigans movie premier had tickets for 2000f, 3000f, and 5000f for VIP. While the highly acclaimed movie Ne Crains Rien Je T’aime-Le Film that has been streamed more than 10 times since its release usually has tickets for 2500, 5000 and 10,000 VIP.

English: “A man for the Weekend” which has also been streamed many times both home and abroad had tickets at 15,000f, 30, 000f and 50,000f for one of its premiers. “Little Cindy”, WARD ZEE and Tenacity “The movie” had tickets from 5000frs to 100k.

First reaction that you will gather after looking at these tickets critically is that we are misplacing our priorities. One set of flyers differentiates tickets based on sitting positions while the other differentiates based on the type of table and the quality of whiskey, Wine or champagne that are on it.

The only difference I can gather between English speaking film and French speaking films from my little knowledge is that most French speaking films are short films while the English-speaking ones are much longer. So, both productions could cost differently with the longer one costing more. But should this impact the price of the premier’s tickets?

Poor strategies, poor marketing techniques, poor mastery of the audience and overall the lack of support from the powers that exist greatly contribute to our English film makers decisions on these ticket prices. It’s almost like they expect an immediate return on the investment from the movie production on the night of the first premier. They care so much about the big spenders who are usually not the target audience, the big spenders are not the fans, they really do not care about the success of the film maker, but rather about their reputations and some other private pre-occupations.

These high prices for movie premiers target mostly celebrities, scammers, businessmen, Friends and colleagues of the film makers and not really the fans and consumers of the products of film makers. It’s easy to emotionally blackmail a fellow celebrity to attend your premier. It’s even easier to attract your fellow colleague from other projects to attend your movie premier as they will pay any amount for the tickets, knowing that you must back Njangi.

A good marketing strategy to attract a high audience with low ticket prices at a movie premier will go a long way to assure a high turnout for the next premier in another city. English Film makers organize premiers or first viewing of their movies as though it will be the first and the last. I know of the excuse that even if the tickets are free, people will still not turn up. Again, this all depends on the strategy put in place and the determination of the team to make sure they reach a high audience.

We pay useless attention to comfort and unnecessary Entertainment during movie premiers. The Champagne, Whiskey, Wine, fancy chairs etc, whereas after the usually glamourous red carpet, everyone is supposed to walk into the cinema hall ready to watch the movie. You should still sit in your sexy dress ready to watch a movie which should be the reason why we all left home.

I understand we can come up with a unique style and call it our style, but then what’s the use of the style when we still hear people complain of the lack of movies, and their inability to attend the very few premiers because of high prices?

The next English-Speaking film to be premiered is the movie “Saving Mbango” by Stephanie Tum and her production house, Embi Productions. I’m not going to dictate on what they should do concerning tickets and ticket prices, but I wish to say that Douala presently has a huge number of English-speaking Cameroonians, those who should be the primary consumers of the movie. I will add that Canal Olympia recently premiered one of the most attended movie premiers in Cameroon history for the movie “Ne Crains Rien Je T’aime” by Thierry Thamack which had tickets from 2500frs. Also, the “Shenanigans” which has made much buzz recently had tickets sold for 2000f to 5000f.

Despite the long literature above, the question this question is still a food for thought. Do we think the high-ticket prices for English movies play a negative psychological impact in our willingness to attend the premieres?

The producers of “Saving Mbango” may make use our opinions on this as they come up with better strategies to attract the biggest audience for the premier and print out their tickets.

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