| Friday, February 25, 2005
| THE REEL WORLD
|The Nigerians don't go to the movies;
the movies come to them. With few operating
cinemas in Nigeria's largest city of Lagos,
screenings often occur in local restaurants
and private homes; videos are sold at market
stands and sometimes hawked to motorists caught
in traffic.This distribution of films from
"Nollywood", as the country's ultralow-budget
industry is known, may seem unusual, but it
still satiefies the demand for movies--
an obsession shared by people around the world.
In 2003, according to film industry source
Screen Digestsome seven billion movie
tickets were sold worldwide, earning an estimated
22 billion dollars. The greatest share of these
global box-office receipts --more than 43 percent--
came from U.S. theatres. Japanese theatres charged
the most fo the tickets: Reserved seats can cost
up top $25. Though India made more films than
Hollywood, it made less money from them; the price
of admission to an Indian theater averaged just 20 cents.
Many American blockbusters rake in money internaally
than at home. Titanic, the highest grossing
film of all time, made two-thirds of its 1.8 billion
dollar take overseas. American movies have long been
retooled for foreign sale. In 1930's stars such as the
comedy team of Laurel and Hardy reshot their films in
Germany and other languages -- coached with phonetically
spelled cue cards. Now native speakers are recorded over
original actor's voice with varying success. In the
French version of Star Wars, the villans's
voice is considerably less menacing,and his name's
been changed to Dark Vador.
American movies may be popular abroad, but foreign
concessions stands still cater to local tastes.
Some European audiences wash their popcorn with beer,
in China the popcorn's sweetened. Other film sancks
favorites there -- spicy cabbage, salted plums,
dried squid shreds--have a flavor all of their own.
(abstracted from GEOGRPHICA/NATGEOMAG
The Geography of Everyday Life/ by: Scott Elder
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