Nigerian moviegoers are gradually choosing Nollywood films over foreign movies in cinemas

Nollywood films are getting the patronage they deserve.  [Instagram/GenevieveNnaji]
  • October was a great month for Nigerian movies. 
  • Unlike previous months when moviegoers spent more on foreign films, some of the revenue went to Nollywood this time. 
  • Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa breaks down the box office records and explores the implications of this change.

Every month, thousands of Nigerian moviegoers spend millions in cinemas across the country.

Unfortunately, Nollywood often loses out to as most people chose to watch Hollywood movies instead of something from the Nigerian domestic film industry.

A classic example is when only N46.8 million went to Nigerian movies even though moviegoers spent a total of N266 million in February 2019 or when less than N20 million went to Nollywood out of the N636 million spent in July.

However, the box office stats for October released by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) show a slow but positive change for the domestic film industry.


Unlike previous months when foreign movies topped the box office and Nollywood movies were close to the bottom of the 20 film releases list, at least one local film made it in the top five section throughout the entire month of October.

  • The breakdown

It started with the release of a Nollywood movie titled “Love is War” during the last weekend of September.

This movie quickly soared to the second spot raking in over N14 million in revenue from September 27 — October 3rd. “Kasanova” was also in the top 5 section during this same period with N4.7 million.


“Love is War” held the number two spot by making additional N8.5 million in the next seven days. It was joined in the top 5 slot by another Nigerian film — “Three Thieves” which made N4 million.

By the second week (October 11–17th), there were three Nollywood movies in the top 5 slot — “Elevator Baby” with N7 million, “The Enemy I know” raked in N6 million while “Love is War” made N4 million.


The third week had two local films “Elevator Baby” and “The Enemy I know” in the top 5, both made over N10.9 million.

October ended with one Nollywood movie in the top five — “Elevator Baby”. It earned N4.7 million during the last week.

  • What does this mean for Nollywood?

More people choosing to watch local movies basically means more money is going to the Nigerian film industry. 

This means the industry gets more money to produce more movies and tell better stories which should attract more moviegoers.

Nollywood movies are nowhere close to completely displacing their Hollywood counterparts but it is good to know that our domestic films are finally getting the patronage and respect that it deserves in its own country.

The 5 highest earning Nollywood movies for October 2019 are:

  • Love is War — N30.7 million
  • Kasanova — N22.5 million
  • Elevator Baby — N20.7 million
  • The Enemy I know — N13 million
  • Three Thieves — N8 million


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