General News | 25 May 2008 11:08 CET


Arinze Egesimba the CEO of Mega Movies is one movie marketer cum producer who has a say in Nollywood. This diminutive marketer has been criss-crossing the industry like a colossus of sort for 10 years. Arinze who is a graduate of accounting from the Imo State University (IMSU) told SAMUEL OLATUNJI that he has his eyes on the world after the economic success that greeted his latest movie, Yankee Girls which feature Omotola, Stella Damasus, Rita Dominic, Uche Eledu, Tonto Dike and the rest.

According to him, the movie was supposed to feature Genevieve Nnaji, but Arinze did not use her because of her insistence on what the script should be. He also discarded talented actress, Ini Edo because she was 'too proud' to play supporting role under Omotola. 'She was rude,' he says. That is not all, he has a word or two for first and second grade actors and actresses in the industry. He calls them first and second eleven. Did I forget to tell you that he was the one that mediated the 'collapsed' peace between warring 'Senior' Emeka Ike and 'Junior' Jim Iyke? He surely has lots to say. To avoid misrepresentation we are quoting him verbatim.

Sojourn in the movie industry
I've been in the industry for about 10 years. I am happy to be part of it.
I went to Imo State University and I studied Accountancy.
Notable works
Exchange of power, Royalty, End of Discussion, Battle for Battle, Izuzu kingdom, begotten, the king's verdict and the hottest one that is making unprecedented wave in Hollywood and Nollywood is Yankee Girls, a movie in which Hummer Jeep was destroyed. This is one of my hottest movies. Although I have shot closed to about 30 something titles.

What gave birth to Yankee Girls?
I've been telling myself that we need to step up. All over the world people talk about our movie industry, Nollywood. But to be frank with you, I'm not impressed with some of our works. I don't want people to talk about our industry in terms of name value alone. I decided to do something about it. When I got the script I wasn't that satisfied, then I went to Genevieve's house and she called one of the best writers in United State of America. We sat together and discussed the script. When the script writer finished I wasn't still satisfied. I took the script to the best script writer in Nollywood again; his name is Taye Emeka Obasi. When he was done I called Lancelot, alongside Taye and we did what is called script conference. We then came up with the final script.
Destroying Hummer Jeep in the movie
It was so challenging, but I told myself that I want to do something different. I desire to rise into Hollywood. I went to boss of Today's Car but he said he will not release his Hummer to be destroyed without me writing the cheque. I gave him the cheque for Hummer Jeep with conviction that if we can't repair the car I'll be using it. And we had to look for the best location in town.

Why I dropped Genevieve Nnaji from the movie
After the script was ready, I went to Genevieve again to act in the movie but she said since it wasn't her script writer that came up with the final script she won't take part in it. I said I won't be drawn back. I have already set my goal and I won't be distracted. I said, Genevieve or no Genevieve I must finish this production. I dropped her. She later called me that she will act again, but since I've made up my mind to drop her, there was no looking back. I went to Omotola and she said the script was okay. Stella and Rita Dominic said the same. We went to location and the movie came out wonderfully.

Genevieve was later regretting that she was not in the movie. Other people that left the location because of their disbelief are also regretting. Genevieve however said money is not a problem that she can work with me anytime any day when next I have a good job like that. I met her when I was shooting Yankee Boys at a guest house where I lodged alongside Emeka Ike.

Why Yanke Boys and Girls
The movie, Yankee Girls really made impact in the market, it is all about girls. So, I decided to do something all about boys as well.

Sold over 800 000
I've sold over 800 000 copies already. People are already asking for part three.

How much did you spend on the movie?
I spent close to N16 million.

What make a movie a commercial success?
That movie must sell at least 300 000 copies to 500 000.

Marketing movie
We market here in Nigeria and outside. I have market in US, London and Germany. These people buy our movies before we even release them in Nigeria. When a white man finished watching Yankee Girls, he called me and said he was so impressed. There are some other producers that are doing well; A-Z invests in movies too, Get Rich, Remmy J are also doing well.

Making profit from Yankee Girls
I've got my money back with profit. I sold copies of the movie in US for $100 000, that is closed to N13 000 000. I sold it for 60 000 pounds in UK. That tells you the quality of the movie.

Producing and marketing movie
When you become a producer and a marketer, you will give your movie what is needed to make it great. It is better than you giving your money to an independent producer. If you give some of them money to rent Hummer Jeep, they will go and rent an old land Cruiser and pocket your money.

We are in Hollywood
A lot of people have been calling me from US, saying they are surprised that a Nigerian movie can be that good. Some are surprised that we destroyed a Hummer Jeep. I've gotten quite a lot of contacts abroad as a result of the movie. What else do I need to get to Hollywood? We are already there.

Next project
Arinze seems to have penchant for destroying expensive thing, he says he wants to destroy a helicopter in his next project. 'I will burn helicopter to ashes in my next project.'

On Ini Edo
He did not have kind words to spare very talented actress Ini Edo. 'Ini Edo should be grateful to people in the marketing sector of the industry. If marketers did not give Ini Edo the opportunity, she will not have the privilege to challenge Omotola and Genevieve Nnaji. I can defend it; Ini Edo has no right to challenge Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade, Stella Damasus or even Rita Dominic. They are her senior colleagues in the industry.
Cause of his outburst on Ini Edo
I called Ini Edo to act in Yankee Girls but she said she will not act because Omotola is playing lead role. Is it Omotola, Genevieve, Stella or Rita Dominic that is supposed to act under Ini Edo or Ini Edo is supposed to act under them? I can put it anywhere, Ini Edo does not have respect and that is why we gave her suspension the other time. She does not have respect for her senior colleagues in the industry. I can defend it anywhere.

Ini Edo needs counseling; she needs people to put her in order. At times she acts like somebody that is not mature. It is when marketers gave Omotola and co suspension that she rose through the ranks. Nobody was using Ini Edo before. Now, she doesn't know her mates anymore. She was supposed to be in the movie but she said she was not going to act because she is challenging Omotola, she said Omotola wants to use her to shine. How can you compare Nigeria with America, there is too much gap between life and death. These people are not in the same league with Ini Edo.

Have you worked with her before and did she do anything bad on set to warrant this outburst?
Yes, I've worked with her before. And you know, I'm a mad man to the core. If you need peace I am a peace maker but if you need trouble I'll give it to you. She came to my set and wanted to misbehave, I told her point blank that she can try that with other marketers but not me. I'm not an illiterate, I'm a graduate. I know my left and right. I said, if she tries anything with me I would deal with her. She respected herself and concluded the job. Ever since then, she has been telling people that she doesn't understand me.

She can sue you with all you've just said
Let her sue me. Did she not say to my hearing that she cannot do my job because she cannot play under Omotola. That is what gave birth to my statement, (that her attitude) shows disrespect, and that she does not appreciate opportunity. Because without these people that went on strike, you could not be where you are and with Stephanie Okereke having accident, Ini Edo could not be where she is today. I can defend it anywhere. Then, Stephanie was hot during that period. She was competing hand in hand with Genevieve. So, she can sue me and I'll defend it anywhere.

Acts in the next project
I'll use Ini Edo, but it is not a do-or-die affair. If we call her and she says no, we will move ahead.
Best actors and actresses I've worked with
Number one is Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Omotola, Stella Damasus, Emeka Ike, Jim Iyke, Clem Ohanmeze and the most discipline actress is Lilian Bach.

Mega's first 11 actors and actreses
What qualifies people to be in first 11 is if they have worked with top marketers in the industry. Some of them are my senior colleagues, and I respect them. If you appear in their movies, I'll know you are good because I'm not the only one doing good movie.
First 11 actoresses are Omotola Jalade, Genevive Nnaji, Stella Damasus, Liz Benson, Regina Askia, Eucharia Anunobi. The second eleven are Rita Dominic, Stephanie Okereke, Ini Edo, Shan George, Lilian Bach, Chioma Chukwuka, Oge Okoye, Uche Elendu. Third 11 are Uche Jombo, Kate Henshaw, Mercy Johnson, Tonto Dike, Ckika Ike.

The first 11 actors are Ramsey Nouah, Emeka Ike; Jim Iyke is just climbing the ladder of first 11 because he worked in Yankee Boys. Kanayo O. Kanayo, Pete Edochie, RMD, Justice Esiri, Nkem Owoh. Second 11 are John Okafor, Desmond Elliot, Elebele Elebua.

Pay for the category
People in first 11 collect about double the fee of those in second 11. You will use the money you pay Genevieve to pay Ini Edo for two jobs, same goes for Omotola. So, I wonder why Ini Edo is competing with them. Ini Edo has no reason to be competing with Genevieve, I can say it anywhere. The truth is, some people are supposed to be in Aguda market selling onions and pepper if not that they have opportunity to act in movies. Some boys are supposed to be doing conductors but, because they are opportune to act, they won't respect their colleagues again. I wonder why Ini have the audacity to be challenging Genevieve.

For the boys, Emeka Ike and Ramsey are in the same category, but they don't get as much as RMD and Osufia (Nkem Owoh).

On Ramsey Nouah
Ramsey is more professional than most of his colleagues. I've worked with Emeka in more than six movies while I've done more than four with Ramsey. What I can tell you is that Ramsey is more professional and I think he acts more than all of these people. He is a professional to the core. He is very disciplined, even more than RMD. When he says 7.30am, it is 7.30am. He keeps to time.

On Emeka Ike
He comes late and starts looking around. Among all these actors, Emeka Ike is my best friend, we can fight today and settle tomorrow, but I think he doesn't take his job serious like Ramsey. Ramsey lives life like white people he takes his job serious. Some other people behave as if this is not what they are living on. Emeka Ike though, suggests areas to work on in the script, but he doesn't take his job serious. Can you believe that Emeka told me I didn't have any right to scold an actress I paid to come to Nigeria from Ghana to act? Emeka likes looking for my trouble.

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