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The Nigerian movie industry has improved in the last three to four years. With actors, directors and producers taking their work to the cinemas, it’s been obviously a great step.

From 2010 till date, we have had so many blockbusters. This time they are seriously that one can’t even tell they are Nigerian moves.

Once they are premiered, that’s when you see people trooping in and out to see Nigerian movies in the cinemas. Most people come out of the cinema halls not disappointed at all, which is a great improvement.   

ENCOMIUM Weekly did a survey of 10 highest grossing Nigerian movies, how much the movies cost, cast and crew, how much was raked in and awards they won…


IJE (The Journey) – Directed by Chineze Anyaene, produced by Paula Moreno and Chineze  Anyaene, written by Samuel Tilseh and Chineze Anyaene.

Starring Genevieve Nnaji, Odalys Garcia, Omotola Jolade-Ekiende, Jeff Swarthout, Clem Ohaneze and Ulrich Que.

Ije was released April 1, 2010, in the United States and July 30, 2010, in Nigeria. A Nigerian-American drama film, it received several nominations and awards including the awards for Best Editing and the Treasure Coast International Film Festival and Best International Student Film at the Swansea Bay Film Festival 2010.

Spending over N100 million on the movie, the producer, Chineze Anyaene said she has made only about half of the money she invested on it. Ije was in the cinemas for about 12 weeks. Visiting cinema at that time was really hectic, movie buffs were very eager to watch the much talked-about movie.

No doubt, Ije is one of the highest grossing Nigerian movies.

It’s a Nigerian-American drama film, Genevieve (Chioma) travels from Nigeria to the United Staes to aide her sister, Anya (Omotola) who is being charged with the murder of three men including her own husband.


FIGURINE – Directed and by Kunle Afolayan produced by Kunle Afolayan,  Kemi Adesoye. Starring, Ramsey Nouah, Kunle Afolayan, Omoni Oboli, Funlola Aofiyebi, Jide Kosoko, Wale Adebayo, amongst others. It was released October 2, 2009.

The movie gulped over N50 million. It received 10 nominations and won five awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2010, including the award for Best Picture, Heart of Africa, AMAA, Achievement in Cinematography and AMAA Achievement in Visual Effect.

With so many comments on sites and blogs tagging Figurine the best Nigerian movie they have seen. Figurine was at the cinemas for about three months, showing at least once a day with the cinema halls filled to capacity.

Kunle Afolayan would definitely have raked the millions he invested. Production brillant, storyline superb and direction on point.

While serving at a National Youth Service Corps camp, two friends find a mystical sculpture in an abandoned shrine in the forest and one of them decides to take it home. Unknown to them, the sculpture is from a Yoruba goddess, Araromire which bestows seven years of good luck on anyone who encounters it and after the seven years, seven years of bad luck follows. The lives of the two friends began to change for good, as they become successful and wealthy. However, after seven years, things start to change.


MIRROR BOY – Directed by Obi Emelonye, produced by Patrick Campbell, written by Obi Emelonye, narrated by Frazier James. Starring, Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme, Edward Kagutuzi and Fatima Jebbe. Mirror Boy is a Nigerian fantasy adventure drama. It was shot in England and The Gambia, and was released on January 17, 2011.

The award-winning movie gulped over N70 million, and up till now, the movie is still winning awards. Mirror Boy was at the cinemas for about 12 weeks, showing at least twice a day.

In London, it was the first African movie to premiere at the prestigious Empire Leicester Square which earned it loads of praises and achievements and placed the Nigerian movie industry on the world stage.

In Ghana, Mirror Boy reigned so well to become the highest selling movie ever in the Ghanaian cinemas. Now, only in the first week at the Nigerian cinemas, Mirror Boy has grossed over N12 million.

The Mirror Boy is a mystical journey through Africa, seen through the eyes of a 12 year old boy, Tiyjan. After a London street fight, in which a local boy is hurt Tijan’s mother decides to take him back to their roots, The Gambia.

On their arrival in Banjul, Tijan encounters a strange apparition, a boy smiling at him in a mirror and vanishing.


THE RETURN OF JENIFA – The Return of Jenifa was directed by DJ Tee, while the movie was premiered in the U.S and Nigeria. Starring Antar Laniyan, Eldee D-Don, Banky W, Helen Paul, Iyabo Ojo, Ireti Osayemi, Denrele, Omawumi, Yinka Quadri and a host of others.

It was premiered at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, on September 23, 2011. When people realized the much awaited movie was at the cinema, the crowd became uncontrollable. Some would sit on the stairs of the cinema halls while some stood just to see the movie. Not over-hyped, it was laughter from beginning to the very end.

No doubt it was one of the best Nigerian movies. It was at the cinemas for over 12 weeks. The award-winning movie is still aired by television stations till date with people watching it over and over again without being bored.

It was produced and written by Funke Akindele, popularly known as Jenifa. The plot of the movie revolves around the life of the main character, Jenifa. Here she registers to be part of a dancing competition, but when she is asked to undergo a HIV test, as part of the requirements for entry into the competition, she is unsure of her past exploits and flees.

Jenifa is later forced to withdraw from the society that she once ruled and relocates to the village. Going back to the village, however, does not stop her from being her crazy self. She learns that life is not all about being a big girl.


ANCHOR BABY – Directed by Lonzo Nzekwe, produced by Lonzo Nzekwe and Jeremy Hood. Starring Omoni Oboli, Sam Sarpong, Terri Oliver. It was released in the USA on January 27, 2011 and in Nigeria in December 10, 2010.

Anchor Baby is a Nigerian drama thriller. At the 2010 Harlem International Film Festival in New York, the film won the award for Best Film and Omoni Oboli, the main protagonist of the film was awarded the Best Actress Award.

Anchor Baby was written in two weeks and shot in 12 days, in USA and Canada. The movie cost about N80 million, with the scene not shot in the country and the storyline entirely different from the regular that we always see.

Anchor Baby was in the cinemas for 18 weeks, showing twice a day for the first eight weeks. The movie is about an expectant couple, Joyce and Paul Unanga who are living in the United States illegally. Their dream is to have their baby there. This single act will guarantee automatic citizenship for their baby.

The choices and struggle they go through to achieve their dream are showcased in this emotion filled drama.


MAAMI – Maami was released February 8, 2012 by Tunde Kelani of Mainframe Film and Television Productions. It stars Funke Akindele, Wole Ojo, Tamilore Kuboye, amongst others with special appearance by Yinka Davies, Kayode Balogun, Fatai Rolling Dollar and Biodun Kupoluyi.

Adapted by Tunde Babalola from Femi Osofisan’s novel, the movie is about love, perseverance and fate. It was directed and produced by Tunde Kelani. It was showing at the cinemas for over 10 weeks.

Maami is not on DVD yet. Though it had a lot of criticisms, people still trooped to the cinemas to see it. No doubt, Tunde Kelani would have made his money back.

Maami is about a single parent, Maami and her young son with a gift of loving heart, enterprising spirit and brave soul. She is the centre of her son’s world until he longs for the father he has never known, a man with a terrible secret.


THE MEETING – The Meeting was premiered on Friday, October 19, 2012, at Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. A Mord Pictures Production for Audrey Silva Company, directed by Mildred Okwo, produced by Rita Dominic and co-written by Tunde Babalola, it’s a romantic comedy set in Abuja.

It was one of the most anticipated movies in 2012. The cast are Rita Dominic, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Linda Ejiofor, Kate Henshaw, Jide Kosoko, Chinedu Ikedieze, amongst others.  It was showing at the cinemas at least four times a day when it was released and it was showing for over eight weeks, with cinema halls filled. The movie cost over N30 million and sure raked in over that amount since its release.

The Meeting is a romantic comedy set in Abuja following the trials of a Lagos based corporate executive, Makinde Esho, who finds himself at the mercy of political patronage and cupid’s arrow while in hot pursuit of a meeting to secure a government contract.


PHONE SWAP – Phone Swap is a romantic comedy, another high grossing movie that cost more than N60 million. It was produced and directed by popular director, Kunle Afolayan. It was written by Kemi Adesoye, featuring Ramsey Nouah, Wale Ojo, Nse Ikpe-Etim and Joke Silva.


The movie has been nominated for multiple African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). It was awarded more cinema slots for the pleasure of movie lovers and brand agencies clamouring for private screening for their clients.

Genesis Cinema, Lekki, Lagos, had six showings a day from 10am to 9pm, also showing at Ozone, Yaba and Silverbird cinemas nationwide. It was premiered March 7, 2012, at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos and in Ghana also.

Akin and Mary met for the first time at an airport where they accidentally bumped into each other and mistakenly swapped their identical Blackberry phones. This leads to a destination mix up after they receive one another’s text regarding a travel destination.

Consequently, Akin ends up travelling to where Mary is supposed to go and vice versa.


MARRIED BUT LIVING SINGLE – The multi-award winning blockbuster, Married But Living Single was produced by Kalejaiye Adeboye Paul, written and directed by Tunde Olaoye.

The much anticipated drama flick features Joke Silva, Funke Akindele,, Joseph Benjamin, Tina Mba, Femi Brainard, and a host of others.

The movie was inspired by a bestselling book written by Pastor Femi Fasheru. It revolves around women, their career and family ties.

Married But Living Single was premiered in Nigeria in June 2012, London, October 2012 and Aberdeen, November 2012. The producer spend over N30 million on the movie and with the way it was widely accepted and seen at the cinemas he might just have raked in double of what he invested.

Joseph Benjamin, an entrepreneur is happily married to Funke Akindele, who is a creative director of an advertising agency. She is so much engrossed with her career and winning the biggest brands for her company.

Joseph is diagnosed with cancer of the lungs and he needed to go to India for surgery and it was advised his wife come with him. After Funke agreed, the biggest telecoms company gave her company a juicy brief. Funke (Kate) is torn in between travelling to help her husband recuperate and winning the biggest account ever for her company.


TANGO WITH ME – Directed, produced and written by Mahmood Ali-Balogun. Starring Genevieve Nnaji, Joke Silva, Joseph Benjamin, Bimbo Manuel, Ahmed Yerima and Bimbo Akintola, it was released in May 2010.

Tango With Me is a Nigerian romantic drama film, with so many award nominations for AMAA in 2011 and 2012, it is definitely a great movie.

With a budget of over N30 million, the producer may have made his money back since the release of the movie in mid 2010. Cinema halls were well patronized because of the movie and Mr. Ali-Balogun would not have made less than N60 million.

The high grossing movie was premiered in Odeon Cinema, London and Nigeria also. Tango With Me has won many awards itself and also some of the cast and crew. It is unarguably one of the most successful Nigerian movies.

It was at the cinemas for over 12 weeks showing every day. The movie reveals a couple, Genevieve Nnaji and Joseph. They met three years four months and three days prior to the counseling session at an investment bank Lola has been posted to serve in. Successfully leaping over high hurdles of tribalism, parallelism, in terms of religious denominations in the Christian faith.



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