It has been a poor year thus far for Nigerian films at the box office. At present, no Nigerian film has grossed over 30 million Naira yet. The highest grossing Nollywood film in 2019 made just ₦26 million. In contrast, over ten Hollywood films have made a minimum of ₦30 million from our cinemas, five have done over ₦100 million.
This time last year, we had seen the release of Nigerian films that made upward of ₦40 million; The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, released in February, grossed ₦59 million; New Money, released in March, made ₦42 million; and The Ghost and the Tout released in May, made ₦80 million. It is noteworthy that these films were produced by box office favorites—Mo Abudu, Naz Onuzo and Toyin Abraham.
This year, we have seen the release of cute romcom and big-budget, slapstick comedies—the usual high grossers—but none have made a significant sum. The sure bankers are yet to release films this year so there is a still a chance we could see films do upward of ₦100 million; Mo Abudu’s Ebonylife Films is releasing Oloture; Inbkblot Productions and Anakle films, which joined forces together to produce the highly successful Up North, are coming with Set Up, which is directed by Niyi Akinmolayan, who helmed Chief Daddy.
While we wait for those, find below a list of the highest grossing Nollywood films in 2019.
5. She Is (₦15 million)
She Is is a captivating drama with noticeable comedic elements. It tells a story of Frances Anyaoku, a beautiful Nigerian woman in her late 30s and a successful realtor pressured by the challenges associated with being unmarried at her age. She holds on to faith, not allowing societal pressures to define her.
Cast: Somkele Iyamah Idhalama, Chigurl, Waje Iruobe, Omawunmi Megbele, Desmond Elliot, Ray Emodi, and Mawuli Guvnor.
4. The Call (₦18.3 million)
Woli Arole, looking for a fast means of making money in order to have a birthday celebration, receives an unexpected call that he would never forget. This then leads him down path of a
call he was destined to answer.
Cast: Woli Arole, Kevin Ikeduba, Segun Arinze, Hafiz Oyetoro, and Samuel Ajibola.
3. Gold Statue (₦18.5 Million)
Gold Statue, Tade Odigan’s return to Nollywood after nine years, is a brilliant comedy packed with stars, and in a different year or maybe under a different company like Ebonylife Films, it would have made far more than it has.
Gold Statue is a comedy adventure drama that follows the adventure of two young men, Wale and Chike in search of a ‘Gold Statue’ believed to have been a deity inherited by their generation. In trying to locate where the supposed ‘Gold Statue’ is located, they go through a series of unimaginable ordeals and put themselves through some ridiculous painful situations that leave their parents shocked. But the question remains, is there really a ‘Gold Statue’ or is it a myth?
Cast: Kunle Remi, Gabriel Afolayan, Nobert Young, Ali Baba, Woli Arole, Kevin Ikeduba, Sola Sobowale, RMD, and Kalu Ikeagwu.
2. Hire a Woman (₦20.8 Million)
A nerd turned tech genius must attend a retreat with his old-time friends and not look like a loser, especially because his ex-girlfriend will be there. His best friend decides to pose at the retreat as the love of his life…
Cast: Alexx Ekubo, Belinda Effah, Bamike Olawunmi, Ifu Ennada, Nancy Isime, Mike Godson.
Release Date: March 29.
1. Knockout (₦26.9 Million)
Knockout is the biggest surprise so far. A big-budget, star-studded slapstick comedy and a household brand like Baba Ajasco would normally gross in excess of ₦50 million. The film opened strongly, grossing ₦15 million in its first week, but has not been able to sustain the momentum.
News about a boxing competition with a cash prize of One Billion Naira ($3 Million) hits town and sends a group of people into a hilarious frenzy, after which they devise mischievous means to participate with firm eyes on the prize monies. The clumsy boxer they choose and the crazy characters they meet along the way result in a myriad of mayhem and madness.
Cast: Sola Sobowale, Patience Ozokwor, Toyin Abraham, Odunlade Adekola, Segun Arinze, Desmond Elliot, Hafiz Oyetoro, Jide Kosoko, Charles Okocha, Gentle Jack, and Woli Arole.
All figures provided are collected from data on the box office page on Cinema Exhibitor Association of Nigeria’s (CEAN) website.