What are the 10 most anticipated Nollywood movies of 2023, despite the fact that there are so many active projects in development at any given time that it is difficult to keep track of them?
Since the list of upcoming titles to consider is endless, in picking these titles, the Nollywire team decided to include only the titles we know have completed their principal photography and are most likely to have a theatrical run in Nigeria or stream on Prime Video or Netflix, but are yet to get a release date. So, although the upcoming “Domitilla” remake is an exciting new film for moviegoers, we excluded it from this list because it already has a cinema release date of April 7, 2023.
Then, to create our final list and rank the selected titles, we considered what we know so far (or the perceived anticipation) about the film and the reception of the films’ lead casts, the directors and the producers’ recent body of work. In essence, we tried to rank them based on which cast/crew we expect to be a hit or a miss.
We know this list will not represent the films everyone’s most excited to see this year, however, here is Nollywire’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2023.
Although, there is not much about the storyline of this Dimeji Ajibola-directed film, we’re excited about the work the lead actress, Sandra Okunzuwa, and the rest of the cast have put it in to prepare for their roles. Okunzuwa (as Ruth) shared on her Instagram that she had “two months of intense training” to get into shape for her role. The other cast members we know include Chidi Mokeme, Lina Idoko, Princess Obuseh, Chinenye Ulaegbu, Kate Henshaw, Zubby Michael, and Iyabo Ojo.
In addition to that, Vincent Okonkwo, the executive producer of this film, and his production company, VSL Media, grossed ₦127 million last year with “Passport” and “The Wildflower,” ranking them the sixth highest-grossing studio of 2022.
Starring Gideon Okeke as lead, “Tokunbo” is Ramsey Nouah’s third directorial credit, following his two critically acclaimed Nollywood classic remakes: “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free” (2019) and “Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story” (2020).
Although the producer, Chris Odeh recently teased that they finalised the poster design on his Instagram, there is no official release date yet. However, seeing that Joy Odiete (the CEO of Blue Pictures Distribution) is listed as co-producer for the title, we know that the film will have a theatrical run in Nigeria and we expect it to gross between ₦80 – ₦100 million at the box office.
The crime-action about an ex-car smuggler also stars Chidi Mokeme.
8. Eko Miami
“Eko Miami” is one of our most anticipated films because it is the first film that Adebola Williams will be producing alone through his AW Network media house. AW Network co-financed two of the highest gross ing Nollywood titles, “Sugar Rush” (₦287 million) and “Brotherhood” (₦328 million), as well as Prime Video’s “Gangs of Lagos.”
The principal photography for the upcoming Kayode Kasum-directed title, starring Efa Iwara, Daniel Etim Effiong, Vee Iye, Kunle Remi, Uzor Arukwe, James Gardiner, and Taye Arimoro, was completed in Lagos in March 2023.
7. Wives On Strike: The Uprising
After “Wives On Strike” and its sequel, “Wives On Strike: The Revolution,” box office success, director and producer, Omoni Oboli, announced the threequel in April 2022.
Moviegoers have found the “Wives On Strike” series enjoyable and we cannot wait to see the third of the film.
6. Finding A Kuju
“Finding A Kuju” is the sequel to the 2020 heartwarming comedy drama, “Introducing The Kujus.” Although the original film made only ₦28 million at the box office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the moving enjoyed mass appeal.
The upcoming Biodun Stephen film has some new additions to the casts including music producer, Don Jazzy, and reality star, Lilo Aderogba.
Nigeria’s foremost film distributor, FilmOne Entertainment, has done so much to grow the Nigerian film industry and increase the quantity and quality of cinema titles. Today, most titles showing across Nigerian cinemas are co-produced by FilmOne, including “Battle On Buka Street” and most of the biggest box office earners.
Recently, FilmOne Entertainment launched FilmOne Studios and “Adire” is their first feature film and we are excited because we believe they certainly want to prove the doubters wrong.
Ayo Makun and his Corporate World Entertainment has five titles grossing ₦1.26 billion in the top 20 highest grossing Nigerian movies list with “Christmas In Miami” (2021), his biggest film which earned ₦265 million GBO, at number 10.
“Almajiri” toured festivals in 2021, receiving severals nods at Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival (TINFF) and it closed the 2022 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) to much acclaim.
3. Water And Garri
When JM Films announced “Water And Garri,” it immediately became a sensation and excited fans of the lead actress across the internet.
The upcoming title, directed by Meji Alabi and produced by Jimi Adesanya (Unbound Studios), is the debut lead acting role for Nigerian artiste, Tiwa Savage. Savage said in a conversation with Screen Daily, “This project was a complete labor of love that has been a dream of mine for a number of years. Performing as Aisha allowed me to be totally vulnerable and pushed me to express myself in a way that I’ve never done before.”
Alabi has worked with some of the biggest music stars around the world, including Tiwa Savage, Beyoncé, Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Stormzy, and Rema, to direct their best music videos.
Kunle Afolayan is unarguably one of the best directors in Nollywood and he has continued to delight Nigerians and fans of Nollywood globally over the years. I remember back in my university days in Cairo when “Mokalik” was was released, my Egyptian friend Omar was so excited to watch the film, he dragged me to his home so we could watch it together. This is what Kunle Afolayan does, he excites people with every title.
With the massive reception his last Netflix title, “Anikulapo” (2022), enjoyed, quickly becoming memes across social media, we hope to see “Ijogbon” later this year too.
1. Gangs Of Lagos
Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Tobi Bakre
The number one of our 10 most anticipated Nollywood movies of 2023 is “Gangs Of Lagos,” Prime Video’s upcoming first Nigerian original title.
So, why is this our top most anticipated film?
Firstly, the genre-redefining work that Jade Osiberu did last year with “Brotherhood,” starring Tobi Bakre as the lead cast, still continues to frenzy across the country today. However, in “Brotherhood,” Tobi Bakre was introduced as a convict and several critics say that “Gangs Of Lagos” (actually filmed in 2021, a year prior to GOL’s filming) is the backstory that will show us the events that led to his incarceration.
Now, remember that the same Jade Osiberu directed “Gangs Of Lagos” and Tobi Bakre is lead cast again. If the widely acclaimed success of “Brotherhood” is anything to judge by, this should captivate viewers at home all around the world.
In addition to that, Prime Video has marketed “Gangs Of Lagos” as their first Nigerian original title, we are certain they want to make sure it’s a great first. And we are watching to see if this would be just like how they beat Netflix to becoming the first streaming platform to earn an Oscar Best Picture nomination (for Manchester by the Sea).
We hope we all get to enjoy all of these titles and more on our screens some time this year. However, before we go, we want to leave you with a few titles we believe are honourable mentions.
- “Her Perfect Life;” Mo Abudu’s directorial debut short film.
- “Freedom Way”