*Why they are bar raisers
Few days from now, we will bid farewell to 2016 and usher in 2017,with great expectations, yet the events that helped to shape the outgoing year will not be forgotten in a hurry.
For the Nigerian movie industry, the year has not been short of surprise box office hits despite odds. In fact, after the world premiere of eight of Nollywood movies at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival,TIFF, which held between September 8 and 18, 2016, our movies came into spotlight, out-grossing some of Hollywood’s blockbuster movies in the local box office. Here, we take a look at some of the highest-grossing Nollywood films of all time in the Nigerian cinemas.
Everybody has been talking about ’76, yet many are convinced that it’s one of the greatest films that came out this year. The film has not only redefined the place of Nollywood in the international film market, but also, it has set the pace for the emergence of a new film culture in Africa. Having debuted at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival,TIFF, ’76 is looking to set a new record in Nollywood. In fact, since it premiered late last month, the country’s box office has been busy with theatre goers thronging the cinema hosues to see the film. Though it might not score high on the list of the biggest grossing films of the year, ’76 may turn out to be one of the most profitable, thematic and action-pack movie which has all the signs of being a bigger hit still on home formats.
Wives on strike
Omoni Oboli has produced many blockbuster movies in recent times, but her latest movie, “Wives on Strike” has set her apart from other Nollywood producers. The film, reportedly grossed N51 million in 17 days of its cinematic debut, with views by over 50,000 people across cinema houses nationwide. With its fourth week running, the movie maintained the tempo, as theatre goers were still thronging the cinema houses to see the film. The film kept selling, even with the presence of latest Hollywood releases like “The Barber’s Shop”, “The Huntsman” and “ Jungle Book.” Starring Omoni Oboli, Uche Jombo-Rodriguez, Ufuoma Mcdermoth, Kehinde Bankole, Julius Agwu, Keneth Okonkwo the film reportedly sold N15 million in three days in its first weekend at the cinema, making it the first ever Nollywood movie to do so in the history of box-office records in Nigeria. Today, it’s on record that the film grossed over N67 million in the box office, coming after AY’s “A Trip to Jamaica” which grossed N137 million. This is not surprising, however, because Omoni’s earlier productions, “ Being Mrs Elliot and The First Lady” were no less box office hits of 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The Wedding Party
Box Office smash hit that raised the bar in Nollywood during this outgoing year. The film, from Elfike Collective, grossed N36 million in its opening weekend in cinemas across the country centres on Dunni Coker (Adesua Etomi), a 24-year-old gallery owner and only daughter of her parents about to marry the love of her life, IT entrepreneur Dozie (Banky W) has redefined box office records in the Nigerian Film Industry. The romcom which hit the cinemas on Wednesday and Thursday night sold-out to the admiration of the audience. The tally places “The Wedding Party” as the biggest opening weekend film of the year, ahead of A Trip to Jamaica and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As Mo Abudu remarked, “The Wedding Party is tracking to surpass all Box Office records including that of the impressive ‘A Trip to Jamaica’ particularly ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday Season.”
A Trip to Jamaica
Ayo Makun, popularly called AY, returned to reckoning during the last quarter of the year, with his latest movie, “ A Trip to Jamaica”, which premiered in September. The film reportedly grossed over N137 million in the cinemas, beating box office revenues of all the big budget Hollywood including Batman Vs. Superman, Captain America, Suicide Squad, London Has Fallen, Gods Of Egypt among others, and Nollywood titles released in 2016.
Shot in Nigeria, America and Jamaica, “A Trip to Jamaica” indeed, is the highest grossing movie in Nigeria this year. The comic movie has been showing in all 28 cinema houses across the country. Starring Hollywood acts Roberts and Dan Davies, Jamaica acts Paul Campbell and Rebecca Silvera, Ghanaian actor Chris Attoh and Nigerian actors that include AY Makun, Funke Akindele, Nse Ikpe Etim, Patoranking, Cynthia Morgan and Ras Kimono, the film focuses on Akpos (AY) and his fiancée Bola (Funke Akindele), who travel across the Atlantic to visit family, they unexpectedly end up on an adventure they could never imagine. AY, whose first movie, ‘30 Days In Atlanta’ broke Guinness World Record was optimistic that the hardship in the land would not affect the performance of the movie in the box office. And how right, he was!
Kunle Afolyan’s mystery thriller,”The CEO” came out with a bang, premièring aboard an Air-France flight to Paris, France, and stirring up curiosity among the viewers. But the high expectations that greeted the cinematic release of the film was not sustained after it grossed N60 million in the box office. Notwithstanding, “The CEO” remains one of the best movies that raised the stake in Nollywood during the year under review . Despite its international success, “The CEO” has all the magic that can keep it showing in the cinemas for a long time.
Ghana Must Go and Fifty
A comic movie, “Ghana Must Go” which was shot in Ghana and starring the likes of Yvonne Okoro, Ik Ogbonna, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Helen Paul, Ada Ameh and Nkem Owoh aka Osuofia grossed N32 million in the box office, whereas Mo Abudu’s “Fifty” raked in N44 million in addition to the N50 million it grossed last year.