Since the beginning of the current year, Nollywood has been proving its mettle, with films such as Merry Men 3: Nemesis and Adire, both of which debuted in the Nigerian cinemas last year, and Dinner, which was first released in 2016, all appearing on Netflix. More film projects in a variety of genres are, however, anticipated across attending platforms and in the Nigerian cinemas as the year promises to be one full of wonderful moments and thrills for Nollywood cinephiles in the country and elsewhere. Check out the lineup of twenty expected Nollywood releases for this year.
Anikulapo: Rise of the Spectre
Produced and directed by Kunle Afolayan, Anikulapo: Rise of the Spectre is a Netflix series that is set to premiere on March 1. The story builds on the momentum of the well-received Afolayan’s 2022 film Anikulapo. The new series stars an ensemble of returning actors and new acts, and is shot at KAP Film Village and Resort in Igbojaiye, Oyo state, Nigeria. The series stars principal actors Kunle Remi as Saro and Bimbo Ademoye as Rolake, as well as Layi Wasabi, Sola Sobowale, Gabriel Afolayan, Sisi Quadri, Adeniyi Johnson, Aunty Ramota, Jide Kosoko, Lincoln Owo Ogunde, Uzee Usman, Ronke Oshodi-Oke, Moji Afolayan, Funky Mallam and Aisha Lawal. A six-part epic series, it tells the story of Saro who, in order to avoid a terrible fate, returns to Oyo Kingdom with orders to carry out a herculean task.
I Do Not Come To You By Chance
I Do Not Come To You By Chance is a film adaptation of Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s novel of same title. The comedy drama film, which premiered at the 2023 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), will be available soon to a wider audience Directed by Ishaya Bako and co written by Chika Anadu, the film stars Blossom Chukwujekwu, Jennifer Eliogu, Beverly Osu, Emeka Nwagbaraocha and Sambasa Nzeribe. The film tells the story of a struggling young man and Nigerian graduate who joins his uncle’s internet scam network as a final resort. Many Nollywood cinephiles look forward to seeing this project due to the contribution of Genevieve Nnaji as an executive producer.
To Kill A Monkey
Kemi Adetiba’s To Kill A Monkey is a crime thriller series which stars Bucci Franklin, Stella Damascus, Bimbo Akintola, William Benson, Michael Ejoor, Dami Adegbite, Lilian Afegbai, Ireti Doyle, Teniola Aladese, Chidi Mokeme, Sunshine Rosman and Enado Odigie. The principal photography of the film was completed in October 2023, and the film is set to debut on Netflix this year as part of her exclusive deal with Netflix. To Kill A Monkey is written and directed by Kemi Adetiba and produced in collaboration with Remi Adetiba.
Oloture: The Journey
Oloture returns as a Netflix series following the success of the 2019 film. Directed by Kenneth Gyang, the film stars Sharon Ooja, Beverly Osu, Daniel Etim-Effiong, Omoni Oboli, Stan Nze, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Bucci Franklin, Patrick Doyle, Bukola Oladipupo and Amarachukwu Ono. The journey of Oloture continues in the series, as she goes through the hostile lands of Niger and Libya to the Mediterranean out of desperation for a way out.
This Is Lagos
This Is Lagos, which debuted at AFRIFF 2023, tells the story of a young man Stevo, played by Gabriel Afolayan, a young man in quest of musical stardom and his struggles for survival in the city of Lagos. The dark comedy is an adaptation of Crispin Oduobuk-Mfon’s short story of same title. Directed by Kenneth Gyang, the film stars Kate Henshaw, Mike Afolarin, David Jones David, Gregory Ojefua, Laura Pepple, Rahama Sadau and Enyinna Nwigwe.
UNO: The F in Family
Ebuka Njoku returns from the success of his previous film Yahoo+ with UNO (The F in Family). The latest film, which is a family drama, stars Nkem Owoh as Uzuakpundu, Abayomi Alvin as Kenny, Sophia Chisom as Ada, Tomi Ojo as Rukayat, Jennifer Eliogu as Deaconess , Chimamanda Ukwueze as Nne and DJ Capello as Gozie. Also on this project is Keezyto from Njoku’s Yahoo+, who will be playing the role of Junior, a young artist who often disagrees with his family and their beliefs. Written and directed by Ebuka Njoku, UNO is delivered in a mix of Pidgin English, Igbo and English.
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was part of the films screened at the 12th Africa International Film Festival where it won awards for Best Overall Feature Film and Best Screenplay. Written by Tunde Babalola and directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters, the biopic tells the life journey of the mother of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, capturing her experiences from being a student to her marriage to Israel Ransome-Kuti. The film stars Kehinde Bankole, Joke Silva, Adebayo Salami, Jide Kosoko, Ibrahim Suleiman, Keppy Ekpeyong and Dele Odule.
All The Colors of the World Are Between Black and White
A romantic drama film written and directed by Babatunde Apalowo, All the Colors of the World Are Between Black and White premiered at the Berlinale 2023 where it was in competition for best film by a first-time filmmaker and bagged the Teddy Award for best LGBTQIA+ film. As part of its festival run, it premiered in Nigeria at the 12th Africa International Film Festival. Starring Tope Tedela, Riyo David, Floyd Anekwe, Martha Ehinome and Uchechika Elumelu, the film deals with the sensitive issue of homosexuality as it explores a societally forbidden relationship between two Lagos-based men named Bambino and Bawa.
‘77: The FESTAC Conspiracy
Directed by Izu Ojukwu, 10. ‘77: The FESTAC Conspiracy comes as a follow-up to the 2016 historical thriller 76. The film is set against the backdrop of the FESTAC ’77 Arts and Culture Festival which was jointly organized by UNESCO and the Nigerian government. Starring Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Daniel K. Daniel, Ibinabo Fiberisima and Soibifaa Dokubo, the film explores events surrounding the Pan-African occasion.
The Silent Intruder
Big Brother Naija star Pere Egbi marks his production debut on The Silent Intruder, a film which delves into the world of a successful sex therapist that grapples with insatiable sex desires. Produced by Mo Fakorede and directed by Uyoyou Adia, the film stars Uche Montana, Kachi Nnochiri, Venita Akpofure and Pere Egbi himself. The Silent Intruder will be available in Nigerian cinemas from February 9, 2024.
Water and Garri
Afrobeats Diva Tiwa Savage is the executive producer of Water and Garri, a film named after her 2021 EP. Similar to the EP, the film explores themes of love and self-discovery. It follows the story of Aisha, an ambitious Nigerian fashion designer who returns from the United States to Nigeria where she is reunited with family and loved ones amidst tensions. Produced by Jimi Adesanya and directed by Meji Alabi, the film stars Tiwa Savage, Jemima Osunde, Mike Afolarin and Ghanaian actor Andrew Bunting. Water and Garri will be released on Prime Video and available to over 200 countries and territories globally.
Finding Messiah is a musical drama set in the fictional Republic of Zambay. Touted as a big-budget production which uses a fictional language, the cast includes Sunday Omobolanle, Bucci Franklin, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Segun Arinze, Alex Usifo, Majid Michel, Pete Edochie and Ekpeyong Bassey Inyang. The film is produced and directed by renowned music executive and creative entrepreneur Oscar Heman-Ackah who marks his foray into Nollywood on this project. Principal photography for the film was concluded sometime in January. Plot details of the film have not been released. It is not also known whether the film will debut on a streaming platform or in the cinemas.
A Green Fever
Set in the 80s and directed by Taiwo Egunjobi, A Green Fever is a crime drama that stars Deyemi Okanlawon, Temi Fosudo, William Benson, Ruby Okezie and Darasimi Nadi. The film follows the story of Kunmi and his daughter Ireti, both of whom seek refuge in the house of a stranger when Ireti gets a stroke on a road trip during a curfew. The film is from the stable of Nemsia Films, the production company responsible for Breath of Life, in conjunction with Sable Productions. Set in Ibadan and produced by Eniola Fagbenle, the film premiered at AFRIFF 2023. A Green Fever is coming to Prime Video this year.
With Difficulty Comes Ease
Korede Azeez, previously known for one of Netflix’s African Folktales Re-imagined short films released in 2023, Halima’s Choice, is the brains behind With Difficulty Comes Ease. From the stable of Nemsia Films, With Difficulty Comes Ease takes us through the quest of a young widow, Zainab, to find her place in the world. Uzoamaka Aniunoh plays the role of Zainab, as the film also stars Caleb Richards and Ummi Baba-Ahmed.
Home Therapy, a divorce-based drama, has Jude Chukwuka playing the lead role as Henry, a retired emeritus professor embroiled in a divorce saga with his wife. Produced by Emmanuel Izuoba and directed by Paul Edoze, the film subtly reveals other characters and is sure to have viewers immersed in the characters’ journey of self-discovery.
Directed by Isioma Osaje (producer of Up North, Quam’s Money, Day of Destiny, The Set Up), Japa! is a sci-fi comedy which stars Blossom Chukwujekwu, Adesua Etomi, Seun Ajayi, Jidekene Achufusi and Layi Wasabi. Principal photography for the film ended in August 2023, but plot details are yet to be exposed.
House of Gaa
Snippets of House of Gaa suggest that it is rooted in traditions and history. The film is directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters, the brains behind Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, and is set to feature Femi Branch alongside other actors. No details of the plot have been officially released; however, the cultural backdrop is a subtle indication that the film might be about the legendary Bashorun Gaa of 18th Century Oyo Empire.
In this film, Beverly Naya plays the lead role of Mabel Ajayi, a woman who, in a bid to win back her husband Kunle Ajayi (Efe Iwara), gets involved in crime. Produced by Abdul Tijani and directed by Benn Nwokike, the psychological thriller film also stars Ade Laoye, Venita Akpofure, Demi Banwo, Temitope Olowoniyan, Michael Ejoor, Darasimi Nnadi and Abdul Tijani-Ahmed.
A Judith Audu production, L.I.F.E follows the story of two females, Ema and Yinka, who are dissatisfied with their career as they hope for a better life. Starring in the film are Omowunmi Dada, Efe Irele, Eso Dike, Debo “Mr Macaroni” Adedayo, Jay Paul, Kate Adepegba and Temitope Olowoniyan. The film is directed by Uyoyou Adia (Hey You!) and will be available for streaming on Prime Video.
Directed by Daniel Oriahi, The Weekend stars Bucci Franklin, Meg Otanwa, Keppy Ekpeyong, Brutus Richard, Uzoamaka Aninuoh, Gloria Anozie-Young and James Gardiner. Principal photography for The Weekend ended in December 2022. Although plot details remain unknown, the film is believed to be wound around themes such as family, trauma and a political undertone.