2015: The Year of Nollywood

Hey Folks… It’s the beginning of 2016, a good time to look forward to what the year has in store for us, but also an appropriate time to take stock of 2015.

First, we at MoviePencil would like to say danke schön to all those who took time out to read our posts, share, comment, tweet, retweet or like on Facebook over the past year, we appreciate you all.

We have also taken the time out to put some of our reflection of the year 2015 in writing and what we hope 2016 will bring our way. Without much ado see below:

2015 shall be crowned ‘The year of Nollywood


30-days-in-Atlanta-PosterYep! Our local industry had more progressive impact across board in 2015 than any year before.

There were more Nollywood feature films released in cinemas than any year before!

Unfortunately, we do not have the exact number of releases in 2015, however, we can count at least 20 releases (there were definitely more). This means that every month in 2015 had at least one Nigerian movie available for audiences; it seems so small right? Well I can assure you that this is good progress from prior numbers.
The number of films released was not the only achievement by Nollywood in 2015… Box Office records were broken. This achievement alone is a feat that should be celebrated by every industry practitioner. It means that our local content has the capacity to pull the audiences contrary to popular belief.

Early in the year, A.Y Makun’s comedy feature film, 30 Days in Atlanta, set the record for the highest box office receipts by a movie in Nigerian cinemas (whether local or foreign) with ₦140million. Before the year ran out, more movies had scored good box office milestones including Gbomo Gbomo Express, Road to Yesterday and Fifty – which boasts the biggest weekend box office receipt in Nigerian cinemas (whether local or foreign).

Fifty-Movie-PosterThere was also an advancement in the use of technology, quality of scriptwriting, diversity in characters and soundtracks (is it just me or does Brymo make the best soundtracks for Nigerian entertainment content?). The increased level of participation by private investors/stakeholders also ensured plays/musicals like Saro and Wakaa lit up the stage. But those were not the only stage shows to delight audiences as London Life: Lagos Living, Hear Word among others thrilled.

We would at this point like to dedicate a paragraph to the ‘Filmhouse Group’. These guys increased the number of cinemas available to audiences, invested in and produced amazing content and used their distribution arm to advance the industry. Well done guys, just well done and keep it up. No! Get better at it….

In 2015, Nollywood became way more than the feature films or stage plays…. Short films found their way into our hearts thanks to platforms like YouTube and IndieView (a bi-monthly programme that showcases local short films to audiences). YouTube series, TV series and Comedy skits also successfully garnered audience engagement and appreciation proving that Nollywood does have a truckload of talented individuals.

To be honest, as critics and people who have observed the industry for the last few years, we would like to say that the days constantly prayed for in Nollywood are slowly arriving and we can only see things getting better. The industry is not yet anywhere near its full potential, but it has shown good progress.

Those of us at MoviePencil would like to say thank you to every industry practitioner out there, from those in front of the camera to those doing their magic behind the scenes, from those who delivered great stuff to those who were just subpar, you guys are the real MVPs and we hope that 2016 brings even more banging stuff from your creative recesses.

P.S. our biggest disappointment of the year 2015 was that even though an Oscar committee was set up to review a Nigerian submission, we were unable to submit any movie for consideration at the 2016 Academy Awards. Looking back now, we cannot really place our hands on any movie that met the criteria or could have been a worthy contender. However, as someone pointed out, all Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo) needed to be a worthy contender was a more coherent and better executed plot.

On the international front……



It was all about the destruction of box office records across the seas. In the US alone, the opening weekend records for 5 different months were broken and for the first time ever, the domestic box office grossed over $11billion in a single year! Just in case that’s not clear to you, that’s over ₦2.2trillion from movies released in cinemas alone!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also for the first time ever, five films made over $1billion individually in box office receipts. Do you know which 5? Let us know in the comments.

Indeed 2015 has proved to be one of the biggest years for entertainment (I’m sure Adele would agree with us).

The question then becomes, can 2016 do even better?

Can we break more records? Hopefully Nollywood does, Hollywood’s line-up of 2016 releases also looks promising.

Can Nigeria eventually submit a movie for the Oscars? Buzz surrounding 93 Days and the CEO movie suggest we just may.

Whatever the case, we look forward to an even greater year than the last and even better progress in the industry.

Happy 2016 folks! Go ye forth and have a great year!
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