In 2023, Nollywood witnessed a battle for audience attention as several titles competed for the top spot at the box office. Five Nigerian movies managed to gross over US$109,827.80, with one of them making over a million.
At the top of the list is Funke Akindele’s A Tribe, Called Judah, which tells the story of five brothers who come together to save their mother by robbing a company. Starring Jide Kene Achufusi, Timini Egbuson, Uzee Usman, Tobi Makinde, and Olumide Oworu, the film made its debut on December 15, 2023, and recorded a total of US$124406 over its opening weekend.
A Tribe Called Judah became an instant hit, with fans posting on social media about tickets being sold out hours before the viewing time. It ended the year 2023 with a gross of US$938,242, making it the highest-grossing Nollywood title and the highest ever, grossing over US$1 million.
Malaika, produced by Toyin Abraham, is in second place. The film centres around a couple struggling to bear children, played by Abraham and Emeke Ike. It recorded a total of US$37,251 between December 22-24, 2023, making it the second highest-grossing Nollywood opening weekend. Malaika ended the year with a gross of exactly US$176,818.
Ada Omo Daddy, Mercy Aigbe’s second cinematic feature, made its way to the third highest-grossing Nollywood film for 2023 despite being released on the same day as A Tribe Called Judah. It opened at the cinema with a record of US$30,334 and ended the year with a total gross of US$146,799.
Despite facing competition from Hollywood blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer, Orisa broke the record for the biggest epic opening of the year with US$30,312. In seven days, it had hit a total of US$109,827 at the Nigerian box office, becoming the first 2023 title to record such numbers. After screening nationwide for 14 weeks, Orisa left the box office charts with a total gross of US$140,458, making it the fourth highest-grossing Nollywood title for 2023.
Merry Men 3: Nemesis, produced by comedian Ay Makun, made its debut on October 13, 2023, and achieved US$109,827 after spending only four weeks at the Nigerian cinemas. According to CEAN, the crime comedy has a total gross of US$130,137. It is also expected to move to Netflix later this month.