Highest Grossing Nollywood Movies of all time
The Nigerian film industry releases more movies than any other film industry asides Bollywood, but when it comes to cinema sales, we are far behind everyone.
However, Nollywood has grown from being a film industry where producers struggle to make a profit to one in which a movie with loads of laughs, romance, and popular faces can guarantee upwards of 50 million naira in the box office.
The Wedding Party 2 – highest grossing Nollywood movie – made 500 million naira ($1.3 million) from cinema sales and while that’s huge, it is a drop in the ocean compared to other film industries. Bollywood’s highest grossing movie Dangal made $330 million while the Chinese film industry’s biggest hit Wolf Warrior 2 grossed roughly $890,425,500.
This boom in the theatrical sector is somewhat problematic: Indie and non-comedy movies have so far struggled in the local box office. With Kemi Adetiba’s audacious King of Boys and Izu Ojukwu’s 76 being the noteworthy exceptions.
11 highest grossing Nollywood Movies of all Time
These figures may not be accurate since they were announced by the film producers and not an independent body as obtainable in Hollywood or Bollywood.
1. The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai (2017) – ₦500 Million
The Wedding Party 2 was bigger in every aspect than its prequel; bigger budget (it cost ₦300 million), bigger cast, and a bigger profit.
TWP2 has the best opening day in Nollywood, racking in ₦20 million on its first day, and currently leads the list of highest grossing Nollywood movies.
The Wedding Party 2 is a romantic comedy focused on the romance and turbulent wedding between Nonso (Enyinna Nwigwe) and Deardre (Daniella Down). Nonso accidentally proposed to Deardre during a date in Dubai and after the catastrophic traditional wedding in Lagos, the families of the couple decided to take the wedding to Dubai.
TWP2 is jointly produced by EbonyLife Films, FilmOne, Inkblot Productions, and Koga Studios.
Cast: Enyinna Nwigwe, Daniella Down, Richard Mofe Damijo, Olubankole ‘Banky W’ Wellington, Adesua Etomi, Ireti Doyle, Sola Sobawole, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Beverly Naya, and Zainab Balogun.
Director: Niyi Akinmolayan.
Available on Amazon Prime.
2. The Wedding Party (2016) – ₦453 Million
The Original Wedding Party, directed by Kemi Adetiba, was a game changer. It had the biggest opening day in cinema, making a whopping 9.6 million naira on its first day. A record bettered only by its sequel and the riveting King of Boys.
The movie follows the up and downs of planning a high-class wedding in Nigeria; exploring everything that could go wrong when a reformed playboy from a high-class Igbo family weds a virgin from a not-so-high class Yoruba family.
Cast:, Olubankole ‘Banky W’ Wellington, Adesua Etomi, Ireti Doyle, Richard Mofe Damijo, Sola Sobawole, Alibaba, Enyinna Nwigwe, Daniella Down, Beverly Naya, Sambisa Nzeribe, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, , and Zainab Balogun.
Director: Kemi Adetiba
Available on Netflix.
3. Merry Men (2018) – ₦230 Million
Merry Men tells the story of Abuja most eligible and notorious bachelors – Remi Martin (Falz), Naz Okigbo (Jim Iyke), Ayo Alesinloye ( Ramsey Noah), and Amaju Abioritsegbemi (Ay). Borrowing from the Robinhood story, the Merry Men uses their charm to attract powerful women, land huge contracts, take from the rich and give to the poor.
Merry Men is Ay’s fifth movie as a producer and it is the most successful. It has the second-best opening weekend for a Nollywood movie, has grossed 230 million Naira nationwide, and recently landed a cinema release in the UK.
The UK cinema release also meant reviews from UK film publications. The Guardian tagged it “a cheerful comedy, lost in translation.” Typical of a Nollywood blockbuster, lots of laughs sprinkled over a slapdash plot.
Cast: Falz The Bhad Guy, Jim Iyke, Ramsey Noah, Ayo ‘AY’ Makun, Nancy Isime, and Ireti Doyle.
Director: Toka McBaror.
4. King of Boys (2018) – ₦200 Million
Kemi Adetiba’s crime drama, King of Boys, follows the story Businesswoman cum underworld boss, Alhaja Eniola Salami.
She is a pillar of society; loved by many, feared by most, and truly known by a select few.
As Alhaja Eniola chases political power, she loses her stronghold over the underworld with a younger associate, Makanaki (played to a T by Reminisce), challenging her for the throne.
King of Boys is a rarity in Nollywood, there are very few films that can boast of critical acclaim and commercial success in the industry. It is also Kemi Adetiba second movie to gross over 200 million naira in the Nigerian box office, she is the only director to have done so.
Cast: Sola Sobowale, Adesua Etomi, Remilekun “Reminisce” Safaru, Paul Sambo, Toni Tones, illbliss, Akin Lewis, Osas Ajibade, Sharon Ooja, Jide Kosoko, and Demola Adedoyin.
Director: Kemi Adetiba
5. A Trip to Jamaica (2016) – ₦178 Million
The second installment of AY’s Akpos adventure was not popular within the critics’ circle – YNaija! Film Blog says “it tries too hard to be funny.” However, it was a hit among moviegoers. The movie made 178 million naira from cinema sales.
Cast: Ay Makun, Funke Akindele, Dan Davies, Nse Ikpe Etim, and Eric Roberts.
Director: Robert Peters.
Available on MyFilmhouse.
6. 30 Days in Atlanta (2014) – ₦137 Million
30 Days in Atlanta was filmed in locations in Atlanta and Nigeria. This movie was AY’s crossover to the big screens. Writing for YNaija! Film Blog, film critic Wilfred Okichie says it shows the comedian “forward thinking capacity to evolve as a creative.”
The original Akpos story had loads of laugh and was a huge box office hit. It is the first Nigerian movie to hit 100 million naira in cinema sales.
Cast: Ramsey Noah, RMD, Vivica A. Fox, Desmond Elliot, Omoni Oboli, and Majid Michael.
Director: Robert Peters.
7. Fifty (2015) – ₦94 Million
Fifty was Mo Abudu’s first executive produced movie and just like her other movies, it is an exhibition of the creamer part of the Lagos society. The drama experienced marketing unlike anything Nollywood has seen before.
Fifty revolves around betrayal, love, and life’s struggles of four women approaching fifty. It was released to mixed reviews – mostly negative reviews – but was applauded for its fine pictures and bold sex scenes. Cast: Dakore Akande, Ireti Doyle, Nse Ikpe-Etim, and Omoni Oboli.
Director: Biyi Bandele.
Available on Netflix.
8. Okafor’s Law (2016) – ₦90 Million
Omoni Oboli explores the infamous Okafor’s Law, which states that any man who performed exceptionally in intimacy with a woman will always have access to her even after they have broken up.
The movie stars the ever gracious Blossom Chukwujekwu as Chuks Okafor (Terminator), a wealthy bachelor, who took a bet with his friends Chuks the Fox and Chuks the Baptist, played by Ken Erics and Gabriel Afolayan respectively, on the existence of the Okafor’s Law.
The movie’s release was shredded in controversy: Jude Idada, a Canadian-based Nigerian playwright, accused Omoni Oboli of stealing his work. (All the details here). All that bad publicity worked in favour of Mrs. Oboli because Okafor’s Law grossed over 90 million Naira.
Cast: Blossom Chukwujekwu, Gabriel Afolayan, Ken Erics, Omoni Oboli, Ufuoma McDermont, Toyin Abraham, Tina Mba, Kemi Lala Akindoju, and Richard Mofe Damijo.
Director: Omoni Oboli.
Available on IrokoTv.
9. 76 (2016) – ₦72 Million
Ever the auteur, Izu Ojukwu delivered one of the most well-made Nigerian movies ever. The Hollywood Reporter says it is “handsomely shot” and tagged Noah’s performance as “rock-solid.” 76 was loved by the critics and ordinary moviegoers. The movie is set six years after the unnecessary civil war.
It explores the story of Captain Joseph Dewa (Ramsey Noah) and his pregnant wife, Suzy (Rita Dominic). Captain Joseph is falsely accused of being involved in the military coup that led to the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed.
76’s 70 million box office gross might seem like a disappointment given its 3 million dollars’ budget but the movie landed a multi-million dollar Hollywood distribution deal with Shoreline Distribution and has been shown in cinemas in the US. Also, there is the DStv BoxOffice deal.
Cast: Ramsey Noah, Rita Dominci, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Chidi Mokeme, Daniel K. Daniel, Debo Ogun, and Ada Ofoegbu.
Director: Izu Ojukwu.
10. Wives on Strike (2016) – ₦71 Million
Wives on Strike takes a look at child bride and the power of women’s bottom power (errrm, political power). The movie paints the uneducated Nigerian man as an embodiment of the worst side of patriarchy. The validity of such a view is an argument for another day.
Conversely, it paints women as powerful and the more upright gender of our society; this probably contributed to the movie’s commercial success since women are Nollywood’s favorite customers. Maybe the subtle gender war was deliberate to achieve box office success.
Cast: Uche Jumbo, Omoni Oboli, Chioma Akpotha, Kalu Ikeagwu, Julius Agwu, and Ufuoma McDermott.
Director: Omoni Oboli.
It is available on IrokoTV.
11. Alakada Reloaded (2017) – ₦70 Million
Toyin Abraham’s Alakada Reloaded was released mostly to negative reviews but it rides on its ability to entertain to achieve box office success. Pulse Movie says it is funny but loaded with “cringe-worthy scenes.” TNS were less gracious, describing the movie as “plotless and story-less.”
Most of the movies on this list were hits because of their ability to make people laugh and that’s the only thing Toyin Abraham is offering here.
Alakada Reloaded explores the fake life of Yetunde Animashaun. Who finds herself in a reality show with other fakers. Her lies finally caught up with her and she was evicted from the show.
Cast: Kemi Lala Akindoju, Toyin Abraham, Helen Paul, Lilian Esoro, Woli Arole, Nedu Wazobia, Odunlade Adekola, and Kehinde Bankole.
Director: Toyin Abraham
You can watch it here.