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Nollywood’s most expensive films

Over the years, Nollywood has experienced tremendous change, rising above its small beginnings to become a dominant force in African entertainment. As it gains global…

Over the years, Nollywood has experienced tremendous change, rising above its small beginnings to become a dominant force in African entertainment. As it gains global recognition, one significant trend is an increase in investment in high-budget projects. These ambitious projects not only highlight the industry’s expansion, but also its global competitiveness. In this feature, Daily Trust Saturday highlights Nollywood films with the highest production budget.

Half a Yellow Sun (2013) – N1 billion

“Half of a Yellow Sun”, directed by Biyi Bandele, is an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s acclaimed novel. Released in 2013, the film is set against the backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960s. It tells the story of twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, played by Thandiwe Newton and Anika Noni Rose. Their personal struggles, romantic entanglements, and ideological differences unfold as Nigeria descends into conflict.

With an estimated budget of N1 billion, the story effectively addresses themes of love, betrayal, and the search for identity in the face of national instability. With compelling performances and a well set up location, the film evokes the emotional and cultural changes of the time. The vivid cinematography helps to draw viewers into this challenging age.

76 (2016) – N600 million

“76” is a critically acclaimed Nigerian film directed by Izu Ojukwu. Set against the backdrop of the 1976 coup d’état that resulted in the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, the movie blends historical events with a touching love story. The film stars Ramsey Nouah and Rita Dominic, portraying a soldier and his wife whose lives are disrupted by political turmoil.

“76” stands out for its thorough attention to historical detail, capturing the political tension and cultural atmosphere of Nigeria in the 1970s. With a budget totalling N600 million, the production took seven years, with extensive research to ensure accuracy. The film’s dedication to authenticity extends to its language, costumes, and settings, immersing viewers in the era.

The CEO (2016) – N600 million

“The CEO” is a captivating Nigerian film that takes viewers on a thrilling journey through the brutal world of corporate power. Directed by Kunle Afolayan, this movie revolves around a multinational company’s selection process for a new CEO. What sets it apart is its unique setting – an intense, high-stakes competition set against the backdrop of stunning African landscapes.

As the candidates vie for the coveted position, personal and professional rivalries emerge, revealing the true nature of ambition and success. The film skilfully explores themes of ambition, betrayal, and redemption, while showcasing the rich heritage of Nigeria. With a talented cast and expert storytelling, “The CEO” delivers suspense and drama in equal measure, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats until the very end. The estimated cost of producing the movie is N600 million

93 days (2016) – N400 million

“93 Days” is a sad Nigerian film that delves into the horrifying true story of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014. The film, directed by Steve Gukas, tells the fascinating story of how a group of people, including health workers and government leaders, bravely fought the deadly virus to prevent a widespread outbreak.

With a production budget of N400 million, “93 Days” is a tribute to the resilience and bravery of ordinary people faced with extraordinary challenges. The film skilfully portrays the tension, fear, and sacrifices made during those critical days.

With its powerful storytelling and captivating performances, “93 Days” not only educates audiences about the Ebola crisis but also honours the unsung heroes who risked their lives to protect their community.

October 1 (2014) – N330 million

“October 1” is a riveting Nigerian thriller directed by Kunle Afolayan, set against the backdrop of Nigeria’s journey to independence in 1960. The film follows the story of Danladi Waziri, a police detective from the north, who is sent to investigate a series of gruesome murders in a remote town in the southwest. As Nigeria prepares to celebrate its independence on October 1st, tensions rise, and Waziri finds himself entangled in a web of mystery and deceit.

With its rich storytelling, stellar performances, stunning cinematography worth over N330 million, “October 1” has earned critical acclaim both locally and internationally.

The Wedding Party Pt 2 (2017) – N300 million

“The Wedding Party 2” is a delightful Nigerian romantic comedy directed by Niyi Akinmolayan. It continues the story of Dunni and Dozie, whose chaotic wedding was the centrepiece of the first movie.

In this sequel, the couple faces new challenges as they navigate the complexities of married life. The movie perfectly conveys the spirit of Nigerian culture, family relationships, and the ostentatious nature of weddings against the backdrop of luxurious locations and lavish celebrations.

The film features a strong cast, including Banky W, Adesua Etomi and Sola Sobowale, and delivers a blend of humour, romance, and drama that keeps fans captivated from beginning to end. With a production budget of N300 million, “The Wedding Party 2” is not just a film but a celebration of love, friendship, and the joyous chaos that comes with weddings in Nigeria.


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