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Nigerian cinema enthusiasts looking forward to seeing the highly-anticipated “Captain Marvel” film on Friday, March 8th, will have to wait another week.

This is because cinemas across the country are delaying the film’s screening until March 15th, due to the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections scheduled for this weekend.

This confirmation was given to Nairametrics by Moses Babatope, Chief Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of FilmOne Distribution. According to him, restricted movement during the early hours of Saturday meant to allow citizens to vote would affect opening-weekend ticket sales of a blockbuster like “Captain Marvel.”

An excerpt of the conversation is below:

Why did the cinemas take this decision? 

The studio and distributor, in consultation with the cinemas, took this decision to ensure there was no abrupt break in the natural flow of a new release on a Friday. 

Is “Captain Marvel” the only theatrical release affected or were all new releases slated for March 8th delayed?

Mainly “Captain Marvel.

Movement after the elections would begin in the late afternoon. Under the assumption that most people see movies in the evening, couldn’t you have proceeded with the new release on March 8th? 

Cinema over the weekend is a 15hr-to-18hr-a-day business with many locations receiving guests to watch films starting at midnight and ending at 2 or 3am. The restriction in movement that starts on Saturday morning from 6am actually affects from Friday evening as early as 8pm when a lot of the Malls and cinema venues take precautionary action. So a lot of weekend hours for the cinema are lost as a result and makes it difficult to build the momentum every new release requires.

Did the Cinemas consider Nigerian filmgoers being exposed to the risk of spoilers on social media from other countries as a result of the week-long delay? 

Yes, this was very much a consideration but it’s not the first time date changes have been made and have often worked successfully. “Aquaman” for example was released in Nigeria 8 days after the U.K and has gone on to be the 3rd most successful release in English West Africa box office history with N451 million grossed to date.

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Won’t this delay push back new releases already slated for March 15th? 

Cinema Operators are used to rescheduling releases. It’s part of the operation. We will ensure that the disruption to our expectant guests is limited to the minimum by giving them a memorable experience across our Filmhouse locations.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will organize gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections across the 36 states on Saturday, March 9th. This is coming two weeks after the presidential and national assembly elections, which saw the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, clinch victory over main opposition challenger, Atiku Abubakar. Mr Abubakar has rejected the results and assembled a legal team to challenge them in court.

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