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Nollywood Films that Ruled the 2023 Box Office

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2023 was a remarkable year for the Nollywood box office, with several films breaking records and showcasing the industry’s growing strength and diversity. Here are some key highlights:

A Tribe Called Judah by Funke Akindele

This family drama, directed by and starring Funke Akindele, dominated the box office with its powerful story of a single mother battling societal expectations. Its relatable themes, stellar performances, and high production value resonated with audiences, making it a commercial and critical darling.

Notably popular for producing record-breaking movies, She did it with movies like ‘Omo Ghetto the Saga’ (2020) and ‘Battle on Buka Street’ (2022) and yet again in 2023. She’s done it again with ‘A Tribe Called Judah’.

This film grossed N400 million in 12 days, setting records for the biggest weekend opening (N122 million) and reaching N376 million within two weeks, placing it among the top 5 highest-grossing Nigerian films ever.

Orisa by Odunlade Adekola

It was projected that the movie Orisa could amass N100 million in the first 14 days after its release. Orisa directed by Odunlade Adekola was released on 21 July 2023 and has ranked third among the top 5 grossing movies at the Box Office. 

The movie ‘Orisa’ is a compelling drama that mirrors the ordeals of human relationships, how emotions are managed, and how individuals manage their dreams and ambitions. Adeolu (Odunlade Adekola) of course from a struggling background and family sets out to put an end to the long suffering and poverty that has maligned his long line of generations. 

Merrymen 3 by Ayo Makun and Ramsey Nouah

Directed by Moses Inwang, ‘Merry Men 3’ boasts of versatile and seasoned cast, including AY Makun, Ramsey Nouah, Williams Uchemba, Sam Dede, Segun Arinze, Bucci Franklin, Nadia Buari, Jide Kosoko, Ufuoma McDermott, Iyabo Ojo, Francis Onwochei, Regina Daniels, and Caroline Hutchings.

The verified data collected from the Cinema Association of Nigeria projects that Merry Men 3 enjoyed a substantial N18.6 million weekend haul, complemented by an additional N14.8 million from Monday, October 16th to October 19th, 2023. This outstanding sell-out sums up to a remarkable N33.4 million since its grand debut on Saturday, October 13th, 2023.

Merry Men 3 encountered a 54% decrease in ticket sales during its opening weekend, tallying a total of N17.1 million, it has since made an impressive comeback, outperforming both Merry Men 1 (₦48,699,026) and Merry Men 2 (₦37,244,420).

Trends and notable developments:

  • There was a noticeable increase in the number of Nollywood films released in 2023 compared to previous years, indicating a growing industry and audience demand.
  • A wider variety of genres were represented, including comedies, dramas, action, thrillers, and even fantasy films like “A Tribe Called Judah.”
  • The increasing popularity of streaming platforms has also impacted the Nollywood landscape, with some films opting for hybrid releases in cinemas and on streaming services.

Challenges and future prospects:

  • Despite the successes, the Nollywood box office still faces challenges, such as piracy, limited cinema infrastructure, and competition from Hollywood and other international film industries.
  • However, the industry is constantly evolving and adapting, with initiatives like improved film production quality, innovative marketing strategies, and collaborations with international partners offering promising prospects for the future.

Overall, 2023 was a positive year for the Nollywood box office, showcasing the industry’s resilience, creativity, and potential for further growth. With continued efforts to address existing challenges and embrace new opportunities, Nollywood is poised to achieve even greater success in the years to come.

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