MY PRICE IS ....................
If you are a Nigerian home video addict and for sometime has been missing the face(s) of some of your favourite stars in recent times, don't bother yourself anymore about their health or where-abouts. They are very much around and in one piece. But then, they've all been caught up in the price war going on in the movie industry.
The war is simply that mechanism which sustains the regularity of an artiste in the movies. An artiste's frequency in the movies is determined by the fees he gets from the producers in relation with the roles. For instance, time was when the faces of Ramsey Nouah and Genevieve Nnaji were everywhere in the movies. Then, apart from Emeka Ike and maybe Chioma Maduka no producer with a romance script went to sleep without getting the consent of Ramsey and Genevieve.
While other artistes were busy scampering for roles to remain visible, the duo were busy not just acting but picking up at home and abroad all the prices reserved for the best acting category. A source in the industry was ready to swear that if Ramsey Nouah shot up to 300 romance movies, in over 200 of such films, he was paired with Genevieve. Only occasionally were you to find Emeka Ike staring with Genevieve.
According to our source , a marketer /financier(executive producer) , “ Ramsey Nouah's presence in almost every film then was not because he was the best selling face then in the industry in his level but simply because the guy used to collect between N250,0 00 and N350,000 per movie.” Before that period Emeka Ike was the toast of the producers. He too was also picking up between N300,000 and N400,000. Then suddenly, Emeka jumped to N800,000, thus leaving him at the mercy of only producers with a heavy budget. The “everyday producers” took to their heels and made do with Ramsey.
However, though Genevieve was in the neighbourhood of N500,000 and N700,000, producers still pined for her because she had a bigger market value than the male faces.
“Now, Ramsey has jumped to N800,000 . If you don't have it Ramsey might not work for you. I'm sure he doesn't want to be rated lower than the likes of Emeka Ike again so he's trying to say that if we can afford to pay Emeka up to N800,000, why not him.”
Genevieve's rise to between N1 and N1.5 million, our source claimed, was more due to the recent contract she landed as the new Lux face. “So instead of saying she would not be available to shoot a movie, she mentions such exorbitant fees to scare the producers away. That is why producers have now diverted attention to the likes of Rita Dominic and Stephnie Okereke.”
However, it was learnt that while Genevieve asks some producers to pay her N1.5 million, to others, she insists on N2 million. This, our source said, only occurs when the roles reserved for her in such movies require some form of nudity or extreme romance.
Jim Iyke & Rita Dominic
One very funny character of the movie industry is that it does not respect persons. Ramsey Nouah had hardly upped his fees than the industry turned attention to Jim Iyke and Rita Dominic as its new faces of romance . Our source maintains that there is no secret to the reason. “It is simply because Jim still collects between N400,000 and N500,000 and Rita still makes do with N250,000 and N300,000.The day these two decide to upgrade their fees, I tell you, you will begin to see them in fewer films. There's no magic about these things. The industry is getting tougher and tougher. You can't expect somebody to cough out N1.5 million for only two artistes .How much are you expecting to make from the movie?” But then, what about RMD and Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde who between them, collect more than that?
RMD and Omotola
“RMD doesn't take anything less than 1 million . Even Omotola now charges N1 million. She can come down by N500,000, but nothing less than that”, said our source. .And that explains why Omotola is also no longer as frequent in the movies as she used to be.
As for RMD, who has never been used to the ugly attitude of appearing in as many movies in a year as possible his “not negotiable” fee of N1 million, producers have accepted in good faith, Saturday Sun learnt.
In the area of comedy , Nkem Owoh seems to be in an unusual leading position with an artiste fee which some marketers claim has gone to an all time high of N2 million. Even when it seems comedy has been overtaken by romance and human angle stories? Our source smiled casually.
“ You don't know what you are talking about. Who says comedy has been overtaken. Let me tell you, Osuofia still sells films, comedy or no comedy. The thing is that whether comedy or no comedy, people still want to see Ukwa in a film. Why it seems as if comedy is no more in vogue is because of those “small boys”, Aki and Pawpaw. People became tired of seeing their faces especially because they were meant to do almost the same thing in movies over and over again.”
Chinedu and Osita
The problem with the midget –size actors was not that they upped their fees, but because producers stereotyped them to the point of irrelevance. Having lost the steam of popularity with viewers the same producers that once went to them with N800,000 on their knees have now resorted paying them peanuts. “Those boys now take even less than N200,000”, said our source.
Rachael Oniga, Ngozi Ezeonu and Patience Ozorkwor
Rachael used to be everywhere in the mother –in-law and almost all the mother's roles in the industry. Today, that position has been taken over by the duo of Patience Ozorkwor and Ngozi Ezeonu. According to our source, “it was the same (stereotyping) problem that affected Rachel. Now she has gone back to her roots,(that is Yoruba movies)from where she came from. Patience and Ngozi and even Rita Edochie are doing the job so well that nobody hardly remembers Rachael anymore”.
The vacuum created by Rachael's loss of frequency seems to have been effectively filled by Sola Sobowale, who it is rumoured, has even relocated temporarily to Enugu, where most English films are shot these days. “Producers like Sola. I think it's partly because she is a good actress and also because she is not that expensive,” said another marketer.
Ernest Obi, Saint Obi, Charles Okafor, KOK and others.
All the star actors above belong in the category of old faces, who are jumbled at will by producers .Their relevance, maintained most marketers, is controlled by the type of film at stake. KOK is very good in straight-forward stories of every day event and sometimes epic films. The same was said of Charles Okafor, whereas Ernest, it is said, made himself scarce because he chose to become a director. Saint Obi's absence , they claimed was not directly due to money as much as the fact that he has grown past the youthful age of being played as a single lover or boyfriend. Some other marketers insisted though, that his absence was because he became a producer, hence was no more available for acting.