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Nollywood Remaking 1990s Movie Classics

American movies are getting a big punch in the Nigeria as millennial audience in Africas most populous country seek more classics.

There is a growing trend for high affinity for Nigerian movies as there is a significant shift from quantity to quality.

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.

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.

Why are producers looking to the past?

”Nostalgia is their biggest play,” says Chris Ihidero, producer of popular TV sitcom, Fuji House of Commotion and drama series, Hush.

Ihidero also credits the work of the precursors of the modern-day industry in creating material that remains relevant decades later.

“What is now called “old Nollywood” had stronger story-telling that was relatable to a lot of people,” he says.

“It’s not  surprising that Living In Bondage: Breaking Free came out and made that kind of impact—old Nollywood still has that pull.”

Even though it now competes with global film industries for volume, Nigeria’s modern-day Nollywood industry is only about three decades old.

Yet, while pioneers in the early 1990s were known for high-volume movies with limited production quality, those efforts birthed a full-fledged industry as Nollywood titles—from comedy to drama—became widely popular across the country, and eventually, the continent.

But the evolution of the industry has seen more sophistication in production value and the emergence of cinema chains, culminating in the showcase of eight Nollywood movies at the 2016 edition of the influential Toronto Film Festival (TIFF).

 

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