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Nigeria’s Nollywood is Remaking Classic Movies to Maximize Box Office Revenue in the Netflix Era

Nollywood is about to experience a lot of deja vu. With nostalgia apparently trending at the box office, the studios are scrambling to produce remakes of Nollywood classics. Thanks to advances in production quality and breadth of distribution, the profit opportunity for new releases has grown exponentially, and the studios see a sweet spot in remaking the tried and true. Over the next 12 months, as many as five 1990s classic films in Nigeria’s Nollywood movie industry are getting either a sequel or being remade. What might have represented a risk for producers—adapting nearly thirty-year old films for a younger, millennial audience that dominates box office attendances—was validated by last year’s success of Living In Bondage: Breaking Free, a sequel to its 1992 original. Despite a story that had strong ties to its prequel, the movie proved a hit, becoming the top-grossing Nollywood film of 2019. And, in the wake of the film’s success, a revival of even more Nollywood classics is on the cards over the next 18 months.