8 Nollywood Movies Making Waves Worldwide

Nollywood, Nigeria’s thriving film industry, has undergone incredible transformations over the years, with their films breaking down barriers and gaining global acclaim. From humble origins in 1940s traveling theaters to the VHS era of the 1990s, Nollywood has grown into a powerhouse of cinematic quality.

In recent years, it has cracked glass ceilings, making a global impact with a succession of breakthrough films. From Netflix originals to big award nominations, Nollywood has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the film industry. In this post, HowNG takes a look at eight films that propelled Nollywood into the worldwide spotlight, emphasizing its accomplishments and contributions to the international cinema industry.

1. Lion Heart

In 2019, Nollywood veteran actress Genevieve Nnaji made her directorial debut with “Lionheart.” The film, which follows a first daughter’s quest to salvage her father’s firm, was a watershed moment for Nollywood because it became the first Nigerian film to receive a Netflix original distribution. Furthermore, “Lionheart” gained notoriety when it received an Academy Award nomination for Best International Film, being the first Nollywood film to do so, albeit it was eventually disqualified owing to language limits. This milestone demonstrated Nollywood’s increasing influence and quality in worldwide filmmaking.

2. Blood Sisters

The mini-series adaption, based on the 2003 Nollywood classic “Blood Sister,” debuted on Netflix as the platform’s first Nigerian original series. Titled “Blood Sister: Redemption,” this series soon earned international popularity, reaching the top ten in 30 countries and gathering over 11 million hours of viewing. This accomplishment cemented Nollywood’s presence on the global streaming arena, demonstrating its ability to engage fans globally.

3. Mami Water

In a watershed moment for Nollywood, “Mami Wata,” a black and white fantasy thriller directed by CJ Obasi and produced by Oge Obasi, will premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2023. This was the first time a Nigerian feature film was shown in the world’s largest independent film festival. “Mami Wata” went on to acquire multiple honors, including the 2023 National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVB) Award and an Oscar nomination for Best International Film in 2024, demonstrating Nollywood’s expanding global reputation.

4. Gangs of Lagos

Nollywood’s first Prime Video original, “Gangs of Lagos,” had a big impact on the global streaming scene. This series, produced and directed by Jade Osiberu, featured a sympathetic story that appealed to people all across the world. With intriguing storyline and thrilling battle sequences, “Gangs of Lagos” expanded Nollywood’s global reach and influence by bringing its distinctive storytelling to a larger audience via Amazon Prime Video.


5. The Black Book

Editi Effiong’s vengeance thriller, “The Black Book,” was a huge success on Netflix. Released in September 2023, the video quickly soared to third place on Netflix’s global charts by the end of the year, with over 20 million views globally. Within 48 hours of its debut, “The Black Book” received 5.6 million views, propelling it onto Netflix’s Top 10 list in over 69 countries. This feat demonstrated Nollywood’s capacity to create fascinating content that appeals to people around the world.


6. Blood Vessel

Moses Inwang’s thriller “Blood Vessel” achieved international popularity by becoming Netflix’s number one non-English film. Set in the Ijaw and Niger Delta pidgin languages, the video captivated viewers’ imaginations, gathering almost 8.8 million hours of viewing time and 4.4 million views. This success demonstrated Nollywood’s storytelling prowess and ability to craft captivating narratives that cross language borders and resonate with a wide global audience.


7. Shanty Town

Chidi Mokeme returned to the screen with “Shanty Town” in January 2023, following a two-year absence. This Netflix original series charmed Nigerian consumers and became the most streamed African original in Nigeria. For months, it captivated viewers’ attention and was the second most-streamed video on the African continent. “Shanty Town” demonstrated Nollywood’s ability to create content that resonated deeply with both local and international audiences.

8. A Tribe Called Judah

Funke Akindele accomplished a stunning feat with “A Tribe Called Judah.” The film, released on December 15, earned ₦400 million at the box office in just seven days. In just three weeks, it surpassed ₦1 billion in sales, making it the first Nollywood film to reach this milestone. Funke Akindele’s film success highlighted Nollywood’s enormous box office potential and capacity to generate blockbusters that fascinate audiences while breaking financial records.

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