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Top 5 Highest-Grossing Nigerian Movies Directed by Women

Nollywood, the film industry of Nigeria, has experienced a surge in female directors who create captivating cinematic experiences that entertain audiences both locally and internationally.

These talented filmmakers have directed projects that not only entertain but also break box office records, cementing their position in Nigerian cinematic history. As we celebrate Women’s Month in 2024, it is appropriate to highlight the top five highest-grossing movies in Nigerian history directed by women. However, with the continuous growth of the Nollywood film industry, we expect to see more movies added to this list.

1. A Tribe Called Judah (₦1,404,187,806)

Funke Ayotunde Akindele stands as a titan in the realm of Nollywood, revered for her multifaceted talents as an actress, producer, and director.

In January 2024, Funke Akindele achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Nigerian filmmaker/director to gross over a billion naira in cinema. Her groundbreaking film, A Tribe Called Judah, captured the hearts of audiences both at home and abroad, earning over N1.4 billion in just ten weeks after its debut on December 15, 2023. This remarkable feat solidified Akindele’s reputation as a trailblazer and further solidified her position as a cinematic force to be reckoned with.

A Tribe Called Judah not only shattered box office records but also emerged as the highest-grossing Nigerian movie of all time, surpassing previous benchmarks set by Nollywood’s most iconic films. The film was directed by Funke Akindele alongside Adeoluwa Owu.

2. Battle On Buka Street (₦668,423,056)

In February 2023, Funke Akindele achieved a significant milestone as a director and filmmaker, with her film Battle on Buka Street emerging as the highest-grossing Nigerian film of all time. According to data from the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), the comedy-drama raked in an impressive ₦668,423,056 and counting, within just nine weeks of its theatrical release. This remarkable feat showcases Akindele’s prowess behind the camera, reaffirming her status as a powerhouse in the Nigerian film industry.

Released in 2022, Battle on Buka Street follows the compelling narrative of two half-sisters entangled in a longstanding rivalry. The tension between them reaches new heights when they both establish their food businesses on the same street, sparking a comedic yet poignant exploration of family dynamics and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Directed by Akindele herself, alongside Tobi Makinde, the film not only entertained audiences but also resonated strongly with viewers, propelling it to unprecedented success at the box office.

3. Omo Ghetto: The Saga (₦636,129,120)

Funke Akindele‘s Omo Ghetto: The Saga etched its name in Nollywood history, claiming the title of the highest-grossing Nigerian movie of all time. Within just a few weeks of its release, the film amassed an impressive ₦636,129,120 at the box office, as reported by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) in 2021.

Premiering on December 25, 2020, the movie serves as a sequel to the original Omo Ghetto, which made its debut over a decade before now. Set against the backdrop of Lagos, the film follows the intertwined lives of twin sisters, Lefty and Ayomide, who are separated during their formative years but reunite as adults through a series of unexpected events.

Directed by Funke Akindele and her former husband, JJC SkillsOmo Ghetto: The Saga also achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Nollywood production to be screened in the United Arab Emirates.

4. The Wedding Party (₦452,288,605)

In the realm of Nollywood’s highest-grossing movies directed by women, Kemi Adetiba‘s The Wedding Party claims a prestigious spot, ranking fourth among the highest grossing movie of all-time top charts. Released in December 2016, this romantic comedy captured the hearts of audiences and enjoyed significant commercial success, raking in an impressive N452,288,605 at the box office, according to figures released by FilmOne.

For four consecutive years, The Wedding Party 1 held the coveted title of the highest-grossing Nollywood movie until it was dethroned by Omo Ghetto: The Saga. Produced by Ebonylife Films, FilmOne, Inkblot Production, and Koga Studios, the film garnered acclaim for its perfect blend of romance and comedy, offering viewers a hilarious glimpse into the chaotic world of planning a grand wedding.

The star-studded cast, including celebrity couple Adesua Etomi and Banky Wellington, contributed to the film’s local and international success, solidifying its enduring popularity even almost seven years after its release. Despite the passage of time, The Wedding Party remains a beloved favorite, maintaining a strong presence on the list of highest-grossing Nollywood movies directed by female filmmakers.

5. King Of Boys (₦244,775,758)

Kemi Adetiba‘s King of Boys secured a notable position, ranking fifth in the list of Nollywood’s highest-grossing movies directed by women. Released in September 2018, this non-comedic masterpiece garnered widespread acclaim and financial success, grossing over ₦244,775,758 in cinemas nationwide, as confirmed by FilmHouse Cinemas. Adetiba’s directorial prowess was further highlighted by the movie’s achievement as the second highest-grossing film of 2018.

King of Boys, a crime thriller, marks Adetiba’s second directorial venture following the success of The Wedding Party. The film occupies the thirteenth position on the list of highest-grossing Nollywood movies ever, offering audiences a gripping narrative centered around Alhaja Eniola Salami. Portrayed as a complex character with a rich backstory, Salami navigates the intricacies of business, philanthropy, and politics, becoming a revered figure in society.

Following the success of King of Boys Adetiba continued to captivate audiences with the release of King of Boys: The Return of The King on Netflix in August 2021. Building upon the film’s legacy, Adetiba announced in 2023 the ongoing production of King of Boys 3, signaling the enduring impact and anticipation surrounding the franchise.

Kemi Adetiba’s contributions to Nigerian cinema extend beyond entertainment, as her directorial vision and storytelling prowess continue to redefine the industry landscape, solidifying her status as a trailblazer and visionary filmmaker.

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