If you haven’t been watching Nigerian films, then you clearly haven’t been living.
Though it’s only been around in its current form for a few decades, Nollywood is one of the biggest film industries in the world, after Hollywood and before Bollywood. Working on much smaller budgets than Hollywood, Nollywood films are vast and wide-ranging, encompassing everything from melodramas to millennial cast films with more cosmopolitan themes.
The Wedding Party directed by Kemi Adetiba is one of those such films, and after premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, it exploded in the Nigerian box office when it was released last December. It is now the highest grossing film ever in Nigerian box office history. The film pulled in an insane 200 million Naira within weeks of its December 2016 release. That’s about $1.2 million USD.
Obviously, that number might seem really small when you look at box office revenues in the U.S. However, the Naira collapsed against the US Dollar by 85% last year, and Nigeria fell into a deep recession. If The Wedding Party had been released before the economy collapsed, it would have pulled in double the amount of money. Also consider this, while you can roll out of your house to the nearest AMC, in all of Nigeria, there are only 135 screens that serve 190 million people. The Nigerian film industry is also still trying to win over skeptics who only head to theaters to see films imported from Hollywood.
So why did The Wedding Party slay so hard despite all of the odds? The two biggest production companies in Nollywood, as well as some of the biggest names in the industry, all came together to promote one film. As you can see, the results were stunning.
The film follows the shenanigans that go on during the planning of a wedding in Nigeria. Dunni, a 24-year-old art gallery owner is about to marry the love of her life, IT entrepreneur Dozie. However, between matchmaking attempts within the bridal party, the unruly behavior of some guests, and Dunni’s uncertainty about her new husband’s faithfulness during their courtship, there might not be a wedding after all.
You can check out The Wedding Party for yourself on Netflix right now.