Entertainment Going Out

10 most successful film producers in Nigeria

Written by Ade

Some Nigerians are introducing innovations and distinct strategies into film production and marketing, thereby setting Nollywood alight and on its journey to attaining global standards and recognition

Ade Ishola

Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry has in the last decade (2010 to 2020) has attained greater heights. There are visible positive changes in the areas of scripting, production management and technical direction. A lot has also been achieved in marketing as the various stakeholders strive to improve on the re-emerging cinema-going culture among the public.

Some individuals and corporate organisations are at the forefront of these efforts to make Nollywood a good example of what a film industry should be, especially in term of quality of production and vastness of distribution and marketing.

This group of elite filmmakers in the last decade has produced films that have been critically acclaimed in term of scripting, production and acting; with such films ending up been big box office hits. These films ranged from comedy and thriller to romance and old classics.

More importantly, these producers are making films that Nigerians are excited about and want to see at the cinema. They are helping the cinema owners to fill their screens with more local content.

Top among these new leading lights of Nollywood, who are making real money and gaining respects internationally with their films, are:

  1. Chinaza Onuzo/ Inkblot Productions:

Naz Onuzo is the head honcho in Inkblot, the film production company that produced box office hits like ‘Wedding Party 1 & 2’, ‘Moms at War’, and ‘Up North’, ‘The Arbitration’, ‘Quam’s Money’, ‘ Who’s the Boss’, ‘The Set Up’, and ‘Love is War’. Others include ‘My Wife and I’, ‘Day of Destiny’, The Set Up’, and ‘New Money’

Chinaza Onuzo

Inkblot has worked with some of the best Nigerian film directors on its projects to achieve these high rated and grossing films. The technical personnel include Niyi Akinmolayan, Tope Oshin, Kemi Adetiba, Omoni Oboli and Tope Oshin.

Onuzo, one of the co-founders of Inkblot is also a screenwriter and a director. He has worked, in one capacity or another, in almost all the biggest productions of the company.

  • 2. Moses Babatope/ Filmone Productions:

With a massive investment in cinema houses, it was essential that Filmone. And Moses Babatope is in charge of that efforts.  As Filmone is at the forefront of the drive to revive the cinema culture in the country, it is also among the forerunners in the task of filling up the screens with local content.

Moses Babatope, a co-founder of Filmhouse Cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production Company, is a producer committed to improving the standard of the industry in the country.

Moses Babatope

Babatope, who worked in the British film distribution industry after graduation from Middlesex University, has helped churned out some good films in Nigeria. These include ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘The Wedding Party 1 & 2’, ‘Merry Men 2: Another Mission’, ‘Bling Lagosians’, ‘Fate of Alakada: The Party Planner’, Quam’s Money’, Dear Affy’, ‘Gold Stature’, ‘Small Chops’, ‘Kambili: The Whole 30 Yards’, ‘Taxi driver: Oko Ashewo’, ‘Kassanova’, ‘Hire a Woman’,

In 2018, Babatope was named the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria.

  • 3. Mosunmola Abudu/ EbonyLife Films:

From Human Capital Management to Media and Entertainment, Mo Abudu has made a tremendous impact in the film production sub-sector in Nigeria.

Since 2014, when she went into film production, after success in TV production, EbonyLife Films has helped in produced great Nigerian hits right from its first ‘Fifty’.  Other smash hits include ‘The Wedding Party, 1 & 2’, ‘The Royal Hibiscus Hotel’, ‘Chief Daddy’, ‘Your Excellency’ and ‘Òlòtūré’.

EbonyLife Films has also gone into high impacting partnerships with  AMC Networks (USA); Netflix and Westbrook Studios to produce films for the African and global markets.

In 2018, she was appointed a Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization responsible for staging the world-famous International Emmy Awards and in 2019 was awarded the Médailles d’Honneur in Cannes at the Marche International des Programmes de Television (MIPTV). She was announced as the chair of the 47th international Emmy Awards gala that took place in New York on 25 November 2019.

Mo Abudu
  • 4. Richard Ayodeji Makun (AY)/ Corporate World Entertainment:

AY, a top-rated comedian who has taken to filmmaking like a duck to water. The Ondo State indigene’s first foray into filmmaking made him millions of Naira.

His first movie, 30 Days in Atlanta, directed by Robert Peters started the film production journey of his company: Corporate World Entertainment on a smooth journey to the big league. This was followed by other hits: ‘A Trip to Jamaica’, ‘10 Days in Sun City’, ‘Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons’ and ‘Merry Men 2: Another Mission’.

Corporate World Entertainment logo
  • 5. Omoni Oboli/ Dioni Visions Entertainment:

Delta State indigene, Omoni Oboli is one of the Nigerian actors that have been able to find real success in film production.

The graduate of the University of Benin City is also a screenwriter and director.

Omoni Oboli

Since producing her first film in 2007, she has produced great hits like ‘Wives On Strike’, ‘The Rivals’, which won the prize for Best International Drama at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival; ‘Okafor’s Law’;   ‘Moms at War’, ‘The First Lady’

  • 6. Kunle Afolayan / Golden Effects Pictures

Kunle Afolayan, son of one of Nigeria’s successful earliest filmmakers, was one of those that led the revival of celluloid filmmaking in Nigeria. After a brief stint as a Banker, the Kwara State indigene went to the New York Film Academy to formally learn the skills of filmmaking.

Kunle Afolayan

Since 2015, upon his return to Nigeria, Afolayan’s company Golden Effects Pictures has produced many award-winning movies including, ‘The Figurine’, ‘Phone Swap’, ‘Irapada’, ‘October 1’, ‘The C.E.O’, ‘Omugwo’, ‘ROTI’, ‘The Tribunal’, and ‘Mokalik’.

The Figurine won five major awards in the African Film Academy and Afoloyan has won the Award for the Best Movie Producer of the Year (English) in 2017.

Golden Effects logo

This year he made a deal with Netflix to make three feature films, including a screen adaptation of Sefi Atta’s book ‘Swallow’. 

  • 7. Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele- Bello/ Scene One Productions;

Funke Akindele, as a producer is a success story as she is as an actress. Her latest movie ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’ holds the record of Nigeria’s highest-grossing movie of all time at the box office with a total cinema earning of N468,036,300.

Funke Akindele

Her other big productions include ‘Jenifa’, ‘Omo Ghetto’, and ‘The Return of Jenifa’

She made her directorial debut in the 2019 political drama film ‘Your Excellency’.

Scene One, Funke Akindele’s company
  • 8. Charles Okpaleke/ Play Entertainment Network:
Charles Okpaleke

Charles Okpaleke is gradually m-making of some old Nollywood films. His debut film, ‘Living In Bondage: Breaking Free’ won seven awards at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards 2020, including the Best Movie (West Africa) and Best Overall Movie categories.

He has also produced the remake of Rattle Snake, called ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’ and that of ‘Nneka, the Pretty Serpent’. He has also acquired the rights to remake classics like ‘Glamour Girls’.

Okpaleke, who was in the Medical-related field got into filmmaking after success as an entrepreneur in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. 

In 2020, as a result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Okpaleke, in collaboration with Silverbird Group and Genesis Cinemas introduced drive-in cinemas in Abuja and Lagos.

  • 9. Omoniyi Oluwaseun  Akinmolayan / Anthill Studios:

Successful as a producer as a director, Niyi Akinmolayan has produced some good films with his Anthill Studios, such like ‘Kajola’, ‘DOD’, ‘Malika: The Warrior Queen’, ‘Elevator Baby’, ‘Day of Destiny’ and ‘The Prophetess’.

Niyi Akinmolayan

Akinmolayan, who started learning editing, designing, and animation production right from his days at Yaba College of Technology, has worked with the best Nigerian filmmakers and directors to make a name for himself as one of the best filmmakers in Nigeria.

 Since 2008, when he co-produced ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ (2008), he had not to look back on his journey of becoming one of the leading players of Nollywood. He is a leader in the art of directing, animation and editing.   

  1. 10. Olutoyin Abraham-Ajeyemi/ Toyin Abraham Company
Toyin Abraham

Toyin Abraham is a celebrated actress who has also found success as a film producer. She produced a blockbuster movie: ‘Alakada Reloaded’, which helped pushed her into the league of Nigerian successful producers in the last decade. The film was a sequel to her old films, ‘Alakata 1,2,& 3’. She is also planning to produce a newer version of her debut film, ‘Alajota’ as ‘Alajota Reloaded’.

Some of her high grossing films are ‘The Ghost and the Tout’ and ‘Fate of Alakada’.

About the author

Ade

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