Are these Really The Highest Grossing Nollywood Films Ever?


Half of a Yellow SunSomeone recently published a list on Wikipedia of the highest grossing Nollywood films in the history of Nigerian cinema, and it has generated quite some buzz. According to the list, AY Makun’s 30 Days in Atlanta was top of the list with over N137million, with Half of a Yellow Sun and Kunle Afolayan’s October 1 coming in a distant second with N60million each.

My problem with this list is twofold; first is the credibility of the list’s source. It seems like most people have just accepted the list as genuine, probably because it is on Wikipedia. When I first saw the list, my first instinct was to go through the list of references, and from what I saw, I wasn’t convinced. While there were some reliable references, others just begged the question; “where did they get that figure?” Any Tom or Harry with an internet connection and a Wikipedia account could have put up that list. It could even have been a PR move by any of the people on that list to attract future investors. While I’m not saying this is the case, there is a good chance that it is true.

Assuming the list did come from a reliable source, the other problem I have with it is the accuracy of those figures. Producers are the ones who provide these figures, and for whatever reason, there may be incentive to either inflate or deflate the numbers they provided. And apparently, I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment. Two of Nollywood’s finest producers, Uduak Isong and Mildred Okwo have also reacted to the list through their twitter pages, saying most of the numbers provided by filmmakers were inaccurate. According to them, while some were deflating the numbers, others were inflating, all to deceive investors.

Ije movie poster
image source:

Exactly what their motive is, we can only speculate, but it will do the industry a lot of good if accurate figures are provided, and published on more reputable platforms, so we can have more a more reliable list of highest grossing Nollywood films.

One positive I took away from the list however is that the future of cinema in Nigeria looks very bright. If you take a closer look at the list, you’ll notice that the top three movies were all released last year. It is either more Nigerians are going to the cinemas, or the quality of movies coming out of Nollywood is getting better (or both). Whatever the case, it is a welcome development, and I’m sure the cinema industry in Nigeria is only going to get bigger.

Here’s the full list as seen on Wikipedia:

N.B: Revenues from special screenings, DVD sales, online streaming and theatrical screenings outside of Nigeria are excluded from this gross total.

  1. 30 Days in Atlanta – 137, 200, 000
  2. Half of a Yellow Sun – 60, 000, 000
  3. October 1 – 60, 000, 000
  4. Ijé – 59, 800, 000
  5. Last Flight to Abuja – 57, 050, 000
  6. The Return of Jenifa – 35, 000, 000
  7. The Figurine – 30, 000, 000
  8. Flower Girl – 29,763,800
  9. Weekend Getaway – 22,895,200
  10. Phone Swap – 20,713,500
  11. Anchor Baby – 18, 000, 000
  12. The Mirror Boy – 18, 000, 000
  13. House of Gold – 15,454,400
  14. Maami – 11,928,600
  15. Contract – 11,447,600
  16. In The Cupboard – 10,501,300
  17. Through the Glass – 10,000,000
  18. Married but Living Single – 9,900,000
  19. Mr. and Mrs. – 6,050,000
  20. Irapada-  5,000,000