In 2023, quite a number of big-budget titles graced our screens.
From stories with genres such as family drama, romantic comedy, and the like, here are the movies that performed excellently on the big screens.
Top 10: A Weekend To Forget
This is a drama thriller film directed by Damola Ademola, which tells the story of seven friends reuniting for a weekend getaway after years of being apart. But things aren’t as smooth as they hoped, as old tensions and unresolved issues resurface.
A Weekend To Forget starred Nollywood faves such as Etim Effiong, Ini Dima Okojie, Stan Nze, Uche Nwaefuna, Erica, Neo Akpofure, Akin Lewis, Elozonam, and many others.
It was released to the cinemas on 22nd September 2023 and eventually succeeded at the box office with N50,606,675.
Top 9: Afamefuna
Directed by Kayode Kasumu, “Áfàméfùnà: An Nwa Boi Story”, is the first feature-length film on the Igbo apprenticeship system and how it revitalized the community’s economy by allowing successful Igbo men to pass on their knowledge and blessings to apprentices, perpetuating the cycle of wealth creation.
Starring are Jide Kene Achufusi, Segun Arinze, Eso Dike, Stan Nze, Alexx Ekubo, Noble Igwe, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Moc Madu, C,hisom Oguike, Chuks Joseph and many others.
Afamefuna was released to cinemas on 1st December 2023 and then made a total sum of N53,450,575.
Top 8: The Kujus Again
Directed by Biodun Setphen, The Kujus Again is the second part of The Kujus Clan who are a group of siblings who visit Badagry for the remembrance of their mum but this time they have gathered at a hotel resort for the traditional wedding of Mauyon and Lily; but things quickly take a turn for the worse when underlying tension meets unfortunate incidents as money as well as people go missing.
This family drama film stars exceptional talents like Bisola Aiyeola, Bimbo Ademoye, Timini Egbuson, Sophie Alakija, Mimi Onalaja, Ronke Odusanya, Femi Jacobs, and many others.
The release date was 21st April 2023, with a box office digit of #53,538,450.
Top 7: Something Like Gold
Something Like Gold is a romantic drama film, directed by Kayode Kasumu and produced by Sandra Okunzuwa.
This movie portrays the life of Tamara who was raised with a silver spoon. She faced the wicked side of humanity when her father’s wealth was ceased plus the heartbreak she went after she was abandoned on the altar by her fiancé. She was rescued by her maid Mayowa of whom she later found love after her past predicaments.
Starring Timini Egbuson, Kunle Remi, Teniola Aladese, Segun Arinze, Patrick Doyle, Sandra Okunzuwa, Tope Olowoniyan, Broda Shaggi and Ebere Doris Okorie.
Its release date was 29th September 2023. It ended with a box office record of N60,163,275
Top 6: Kesari
Kesari (The King) is a Nollywood Indigenous action fantasy film directed by Tope Adebayo and Ibrahim Yekinni (Itele D Icon).
This is the tale of Kesari, the unstoppable, one who wields unimaginable powers. A legend, a ruler, forever acclaimed.
Starring this indigenous film are Odunlade Adekola, Femi Adebayo, Adebowale Adedayo, Deyemi Okanlawon, Boma Akpore, Femi Branch, Kelvin Ikeduba, Yvonne Jegede, Ibrahim Yekini, Bolaji Ogunmola and Adebayo Salami.
The release date was 25th August 2023 with a total box office data of N78,106,925
Top 5: Merry Men 3
Merry Men 3: Nemesis continues the Merry Men series directed by Moses Inwang and produced by AY Makun.
This is a tale of four of Abuja’s most eligible and notorious bachelors. Their lives are wrapped in flamboyancy with their network and thriving businesses, fast cars, luxury homes, and the women in their lives in excess.
Starring are Segun Arinze, Nadia Buhari, Ayo Makun, Sam Dede, Ireti Doyle, Ufuoma Mc Dermott, Chidi Mokeme, Ramsey Noah, Uchemba Williams, and many others.
The action-packed-thriller film was released to cinemas on 13th October with a final sum of N118,491,970 at the box office.
Top 4: Orisa
Orisa is a Nollywood indigenous film directed by Odunlade Adekola which premiered nationwide on 21st July.
From royalty to redemption: witness the king’s descent, the queen’s sacrifice, and the battle for freedom.
Starring are Femi Adebayo, Kemi Afolabi, Odunlade Adekola, Jude Kosoko, Dele Odule, Muyiwa Ademola, Iya Rainbow, Eniola Affez, Shaffy Bello, Ayo Mogaji and many others.
It ended with the box office number N127,898,950
Top 3: Ada Omo Daddy
December contender, Ade Omo Daddy, produced by the delectable Mercy Aigbe was released on 15th December and ranks 3rd on this blockbuster list.
This is a tale of a young lady whose world unravels when her biological father appears before her wedding. She learns of her mother’s hidden past and faces a difficult choice between her two fathers. A teen’s world unravels when her biological father appears before her wedding.
Starring are Omowunmi Dada, Taiwo Adeyemi, Mercy Aigbe, Chiwetalu Agu, Nkechi Blessing, Tayo Faniran, Sola Sobowale, Fred Amata, Carol King, Adeniyi Johnson, Dele Odule, Unusual Phyna, Wunmi Toriola and a host of others.
Box office data – N161,513,748.
Top 2: Malaika
Malaika was directed by Steve Sodiya and produced by Toyin Abraham it portrays the story of a frustrated and bitter woman, struggling to have a child of her own, who tries to find spiritual guidance.
Starring are Toyin Abraham, Odunlade Adekola, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Uzor Arukwe, Westy Baba, Muyiwa Ademola, Ibrahim Charter, Emeka Ike, Dele Odule, Rubby Orjiafor and many others.
The second highest-grossing film of the year, Malaika was released on 22nd December 2023 and ended the year with a box office number of N205,360,950.
Top 1: A Tribe Called Judah
A Tribe Called Judah tops the chart of Nollywood’s highest-grossing movies of 2023. This amazing content was produced by the box office queen Funke Akindele and directed by Adeoluwa Owu.
A Tribe Called Judah tells the story of a single mother, Jedidah Judah, who has five sons from five different fathers from five different tribes. These sons plan to rob a small mall due to their mother’s ailment, but they are faced with armed robbers upon arriving.
Starring are Funke Akindele, Timini Egbuson, Jide Kene Achufusi, Olumide Oworu, Uzor Arukwe, Uzee Usman, Fathia Balogun, Genoveva Umeh, Boma Akpore, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Juliana Olayode, Tobi Makinde, Yvonne Jegede, Paschaline Alex and many others.
A Tribe Called Judah ended the year with a box office number of N1,035,682,627.
The release date was 15th December 2023.
Box Office Analysis
The list of the top 10 Nollywood highest-grossing movies of 2023 is justifiable amongst other blockbuster movies. However, there are three key insights one can deduce from the data. They are:
- The large disparity between the top 1 and the combination of the top 2 to the top 10 is intriguing. Funke Akindele also known as the queen of the box office made history with A Tribe Called Judah which crossed over One billion naira in the space of two weeks. This has never happened in the history of Nigeria and this is in no comparison with the rest of the titles on the list.
This ration equates to N1Billion vs N909,131,518
This is a fact that Funke Akindele arguably has all it takes to pull an audience to the box office and the success of a film at the box office is greatly influenced by the fan base of the producer.
- Another observation from the highest-grossing movies list is the indigenous movies (Orisa and Kesari) which made the top 4 and top 6 respectively. It is an interesting time to see the Yoruba film industry making waves at the box office as compared to the genre of the films we are accustomed to, which also means our indigenous films are getting more acceptance as compared with the records of the last three years.
- Sandra Okunzuwa’s Something Like Gold ranks among the top 10 highest-grossing films of the year. This is quite encouraging and impressive being Sandra’s first attempt at the box office. In the past, only established brands like Funke Akindele, AY Makun, ebonyLife Studios etc, makes the list of the highest-grossing movies.
This is a win for Sandra as her talent is becoming more visible and there’s hope more wins at her next box office attempt.
In 2024, we look forward to what Nollywood has in stock for us and hopefully, we see a comeback of a mid-size budget hit above N100M