Since its premiere on December 15, 2023, “A Tribe Called Judah” has smashed records every week: it has the largest opening for a female director, the biggest weekend opening in Nollywood, and the highest grossing Nollywood film ever. According to sources, it has now become the first Nollywood film to break the N1 billion mark domestically.
Black Panther: Wakanda, which just about missed the billion naira mark after 16 weeks at the box office, will shortly be eclipsed by the film, which has already made N1 billion nationally in just three weeks.
After just over two weeks of release, on January 2, 2023, the film achieved box office history by being the highest grossing Nollywood film ever, with a reported N854 million. This eclipsed her earlier releases, “Omo Ghetto: The saga” (N636.1 million) and “Battle on Buka Street” (N668.4 million), which are presently ranked as the second and third biggest grossing movies in Nigerian theaters, respectively.
In just 12 days, the film made N400 million at the box office, setting a new record for the industry. Notably, it earned over N122 million at the box office, setting a record for the greatest weekend debut in Nollywood.
With a total revenue of approximately N728 million as of December 30, 2023, the film holds the record for highest grossing Nollywood production. During the holiday season, “A Tribe called Judah” brought in between ₦55M and ₦75M every day, according to the Nigeria Box Office on X.
Additionally, the film became the fourth in the history of Nigerian theaters to earn over N376 million in its first two weeks of release, following Avengers: Endgame (2019) with N407 million, Wakanda Forever (2022) with N499.6 million, and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) with N475.7 million.
Though some find it hard to comprehend the reported numbers, there is still skepticism over Funke Akindele’s success despite fans’ joy over the astounding box office figures. The uncertainty stems from a suspicion that the numbers could be falsified. But a closer examination of the film’s real admittance figures offers a convincing justification for its outstanding run.
A Tribe Called Judah, which had 231,053 admissions in less than three weeks, broke the admission records of blockbusters like Sugar Rush (229,060), which ran for 13 weeks, and King of Boys (220,565), which ran for 17 weeks at the box office, according to CEAN, the organization in charge of compiling box office figures. Before it ends its theatrical run, experts believe the movie may surpass Omo Ghetto’s record-breaking 449,901 admissions.
The average cost of a ticket to see a movie over the holiday season is N6000 at ordinary theaters and N7000 at IMAX theaters. When you compound the high number of admissions by these ticket costs, you can see that the movie’s ability to reach one billion views in a record amount of time is a predictable result.
Despite the economic downturn, Nigerians managed to attend movies during the holiday season, as evidenced by the over N1.65 billion in revenue and over 461,000 tickets sold at the Nigerian Box Office between December 1 and December 31, 2023. Nigerian Box Office on X reports that the period from December 15 to December 31 accounted for about 88% of the total revenue.
An influx of Nigerian expatriates returned to celebrate the holiday season with their families, whom they had left behind in pursuit of better opportunities, during the month of December. A large number of these returnees, particularly in Lagos, attend concerts, movies, and other entertainment venues to experience a sense of home after being gone for an extended period of time, so it’s likely that this surge of individuals, affectionately known as “I Just Got Backs,” or IJGBs for short, has had an impact on the statistics.
Her film Omo Ghetto: The Saga broke the previous record for the biggest grossing film of that era in 2020 with a staggering N636.1 million. Shortly after, in 2022, she broke her own record when her next comedy-drama, “Battle on Buka Street,” opened. With N668.4 in box office receipts, the picture became the only one of two directors to ever cross N1 billion in box office earnings.
Akindele has received praise for her skillful marketing, which was credited with helping her film succeed in theaters by drawing viewers in with fascinating trailers, cunning social media campaigns, and eye-catching promotional materials.
Her strategic marketing not only builds excitement among the general public but also forges a close bond between the audience and the movie, guaranteeing a full theater and a spectacular theatrical release.
The third most followed woman in Nigeria, with over 16 million Instagram followers, is an award-winning performer who has made a name for herself in the film industry by constantly delivering high-caliber films with compelling narratives.
Funke Akindele is a native of southwest Nigeria, hence it is good for her since audiences there are primarily drawn to her works. This alignment is especially noteworthy in light of the fact that, according to Statista, the South West area is home to 57% of Nigeria’s 81 theaters.