Lessons from ‘The Delivery Boy’ before investing in next film

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Lessons from ‘The Delivery Boy’ before investing in next film

By Anita Eboigbe

On the far left corner, nestled close to Michelle Obama’s documentary ‘Becoming’, ‘The Delivery Boy’ stood out as it always has. This time, it was on the homepage of Netflix US – the part that is headlined ‘trending’.

Back home in Nigeria, the film has climbed to number two barely four days after it premiered on Netflix and immediately shot to number three on the same day.

The film follows the story of a runaway teenage suicide bomber (Jammal Ibrahim) and his newfound ally, a young prostitute (Jemima Osunde), who must rely on each other to survive the night.

Produced by Something Unusual Studios and directed by Adekunle ‘Nodash’ Adejuiyigbe, the film has received an avalanche of positive reviews that speaks to the boldness of its themes and the dedicated execution in the acting and imagery.

For a lot of people, Nodash and his team have birthed a classic – a gift that keeps on giving.

Every time the film is up for discussion, it springs forth fresh perspectives as though it was just baked.

Yet, most people do not realise that it was made in 2015/2016 and has surpassed its market value year after year. In the last four years, the financial tag on the film has found ways to double and quadruple.

Although the filmmaker declines to share, the market pointers abound. Before it was picked by Netflix, ‘The Delivery Boy’ had the most epic festival run than any Nigerian film had ever seen.

 The Delivery Boy is second most streamed on Netflix

While it traveled across continents, it was exposed to several market places with distributors fighting to get their hands on it. After a successful three-year full festival run, the film came home to berth at the cinemas where audiences had rave reviews about it.

As soon as it got out of the theatres, it began its online streaming streak starting with Amazon prime and now, Netflix. With the buzz around the film building feverishly again, word has it that more platforms are waiting to get it on-board.

Has ‘The Delivery Boy’ found the elixir of African content life? What are the secrets that Nodash and his team need to share? Does this mark a new turning point for the factors investors need to look out for in a film?

The film is not just box office numbers or amount that is paid to get it online once the theatre is done. Film is like real estate and ought to be made for longevity – both in legacy and financial returns.

Like a magic trick, Nodash and his team made a film that has shown that African content can intersect between quality and cash returns for life! It is not a fluke but a series of calculated efforts that the filmmaker was ready to reinvent and implement.

Against the negative responses he got from some quarters when he started the project, Nodash recalls that he was intentional about embarking on the experiment.

“I knew there were ways to make films better and make them stick around for longer but I needed to perfect the formula and confirm if it works. It works!

“Film is like real estate and from the beginning, should be planned with the periodic returns in mind,” Nodash said while speaking on the inspiration behind the process for ‘The Delivery Boy’.

With COVID-19 about to change the face of content distribution for life, it is certain that investors are currently reviewing previously set criteria for taking on movie projects.

The hurdle is clear – films need huge marketing budgets before they can pick up tickets in the box office. They also lose this streak once they get out of the cinemas and are barely noticed once they start streaming.

They fail also to tick both artistic and financially viable at the same time. Investors and stakeholders have mostly been told that one has to forgo the other.

The tug battle between a talent asking an investor to be patient and the investor afraid that too much might yield too little returns has gone on for too long. ‘The Delivery Boy’ holds lessons for all in this regard.

First, it tells talents to start where they are and bet on themselves. Nodash recalls that he had very limited resources that no one believed a film of this magnitude could be shot with. He took a chance, a calculated one, and invested in his project to make a solid point.

Secondly, the four-year span that ‘The Delivery Boy’ has taken to bloom more is proof that investors need to stay patient. With a team and talent who knows what to do, your money is safe and yields are certain for life. One does not grow a tree in a hurry.

The thriller earned 12 nominations at the 2019 Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA).

‘The Delivery Boy’ eventually snagged the ‘Best Achievement in Visual Effects’ award at the 2019 AMAA.

The film has screened around the world in various festivals including the 25th New York African Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF)Lights, Camera, Action Film Festival, and Nollywood Week Paris.

Lessons from ‘The Delivery Boy’ before investing in next film

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