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Entertainment behind the scenes

from Africa News blog:

Nigeria’s image problem

For anyone who has seen the hit film District 9, it’s no surprise a Nigerian minister would be upset by it.

The science fiction film, set in South Africa, is an allegory on segregation and xenophobia, with alien life forms cooped up in a township of the type that grew up under apartheid and victimised and despised by humans of all descriptions.

No section of human society comes across particularly well, but the Nigerians are crudely caricatured as gangsters, cannibals, pimps, prostitutes and dealers in guns and addictive drugs (in this case cat food). The gang leader’s name sounds exactly like the surname of Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It’s just a film of course and the slurs needn’t overly detract from the entertainment. (They didn’t for the Nigerian half of my family anyway).

“District 9″ attacks U.S. box offices. Cast? Who needs cast?


box-officeThe way the movie biz works these days is that a good idea is not enough to raise the hands that raise the money to make a film, you’ve got to have a big-name cast. So, when you have a good idea, you go around and try to cast it because — the theory goes — a big movie star lures audiences into theaters. Then, when you’ve added one or two big names, the money gets behind production and off you go. But what “old Hollywood” has long known – and too often gets ignored – is that the movie should be the star, and when it is, box office follows.

If you’ve got a good movie, it almost doesn’t matter who is in it (see “Slumdog Millionaire” or “Twilight” when it opened). This weekend’s No. 1 movie, “Disctrict 9″, proves that old axiom once again. Made by South African director Neill Blomkamp and starring Sharlto Copley (he’s no Brad Pitt), the alien adventure raked in $37 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend, and it was made on a relatively low-budget of $30 million. Read our box office report here.