The streets have been awfully quiet these first few weeks of the new year. No new year resolutions flooding social media, no ingenious motivational quotes to thrust us into a year of positivity. Whether it’s the looming elections or the critical state of the economy – or both – one thing that isn’t being affected by the new year dumps is Nollywood’s mojo. Starting off the new year with a continent-wide record breaker is ludicrous for an industry situated in one of Africa’s most unstable economies.
One may say the Nigerian Film Industry is operating in a bubble of its own. Oblivious to global turmoil while dictating its fate. In the last half a decade, the industry has experienced rapid growth and achieved improbable feats. Steady plowing through financial projections, the industry proves to be a slave to man’s divination. Until now.
Based on recent industry trends and activities, we’ve come up with a list of extremely feasible predictions of what 2023 would look like for Nollywood.
N1B Box Office Gross
As Black Panther: Wakanda Forever achieves a history-defining feat in West African filmmaking only a few days into the new year, one can’t help but feel hopeful about Nollywood’s capabilities this 2023. The previous year proved to be a breakthrough year for the Nigerian Box Office. Films like King of Thieves, Brotherhood, Battle on Buka Street, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sliced through the Box Office raking in unbelievable numbers.
While the only Nollywood film to peek through the curtains of N500m+ is Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto: The Saga – and possibly Tobi Makinde’s Battle on Buka Street – 2023 could be the year a Nollywood film breaks through the N1B barrier. Funke Akindele seems to hold a secret formula to Box Office success, so a number of onlookers believe she can pull it off this year – when she inevitably overcomes the distraction of her political pivot.
Directorial Debut Overload
The last four years have recorded a handful of first-time directing successes in Nollywood. In 2019 Genevieve Nnaji shook the industry with Lionheart, Chuko and Arie Esiri’s 2020’s Eyimofe(This is My Desire) took international film festivals by surprise, and 2022’s Something Special by Precious Asuai warmed its way into the hearts of Africans continent-wide.
2023 will usher in a wave of first-time directors. With international film players keeping a watchful eye on Nollywood, and film funds from companies such as Labari Africa, LaVida Studios and the Central Bank, there’s bound to be a significant rise in young promising filmmakers.
Major Production Houses Lose Monopoly on The Industry
In 2022 we saw a healthy decline in the monopoly of production companies in the Nigerian Film Industry. Companies which had established strong monopolies in the industry were met with strong criticism from the audience and 2022 seemed to be the year they lost significant influence among the audience. Also, with recent success stories of indie filmmakers and smaller production houses, filmmakers are becoming more confident in pushing their films without backing from Nollywood’s big four. It won’t be long before large cinema houses become obsolete, and audiences opt for smaller art houses with niche cinema options.
Disney makes its mark in the Industry
As Disney gets set to release its first Nigerian animation series Iwájú, its mark in the animation and film industry as a whole is about to be sealed. Depending on the outcome of the series in terms of local reception, streaming statistics and market feasibility, Nollywood should expect to welcome the streaming giant into its community.
Prime Video Projects roll out
With a myriad of production collaborators, Prime Video probably has a quiver full of content set to roll out this year. Asides from the soon-to-be-released Gangs of Lagos by Jadesola Osiberu, we’re yet to hear of any of their other commissioned projects or plans for content rollout this year. However, with the persistence Netflix is bound to exert in commissioning and rolling out content this year, it’s hard to believe any competitor planning to succeed will not be prepared to match their rigor.
Brotherhood & Battle on Buka Street dominates AMVCA nominations
We can plainly see the nomination list for the 9th edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. With the numbers Loukman Ali’s Brotherhood and Tobi Makinde’s Battle on Buka Street have been raking in the box office, it’s a no brainer that both films will headline the nomination list of the AMVCA
Niyi Akinmolayan Debuts Blockbuster film
Niyi Akinmolayan has been silently working on a new film for the past couple of months. We say that film will be an automatic hit. Over the last few months, he’s posted pictures of the possible lead characters of his new family film titled Mikolo. As a filmmaker who’s created a reputation for making films that are first for his viewing pleasure, his personal approach to churning films out has given the industry some of its finest pieces of storytelling. Sundance-winning actress Pamilerin Ayodeji and promising actor Fiyinfoluwa Asenuga sit as the lead characters for this family adventure film.
Ebonylife Releases Industry-Altering Film
Film-wise, 2022 was a quiet year for EbonyLife. After the humbling criticism that followed the release of their last feature film, Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke, EbonyLife went silent throughout the year. The production giant has made a mark in the industry for churning out record-breaking films and feat, but asides from the high buzz from their limited series Blood Sisters and the mixed reception of Elesin Oba: The Kings Horseman; it’s difficult to say they had a triumphant year in 2022. We can’t assure you their romcom A Sunday Affair set to release in February will be THE film from them this year, but with the priceless casting of Dakore Egbuson, we won’t rule out the possibility.