Nollywood, Movies

A Tribe Called Judah’ Achieves Record-Breaking N1 Billion Box Office Revenue.

Since its release on December 15, 2023, ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ has consistently shattered records, marking historic achievements in Nollywood’s realm. Within three weeks of its debut, this cinematic masterpiece has not only emerged as the highest-grossing Nollywood film but has also reached a groundbreaking milestone, becoming the first Nigerian film to surpass the N1 billion mark domestically.

The movie’s meteoric rise has been unparalleled, surpassing box office giants such as ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ which took 16 weeks to cross the billion-naira threshold, whereas ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ achieved this feat within a remarkably short period.

Within a mere two weeks from its premiere on January 2, 2023, the film had already made history, surpassing the box office earnings of its creator’s previous acclaimed works: ‘Battle on Buka Street’ (N668.4 million) and ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’ (N636.1 million), which now secure the second and third positions in Nigeria’s highest-grossing films list.

Setting new industry standards, the movie grossed an astounding N400 million in just 12 days, securing the record for the most significant weekend opening in Nollywood, amassing over N122 million in its debut weekend.

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By December 30, 2023, ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ had accumulated over N728 million, firmly cementing its position as the highest-grossing Nollywood film. Reports from the Nigeria Box Office indicate a daily earning range of ₦55M – ₦75M during the festive season.

This cinematic triumph marked ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ as the fourth film in Nigerian cinema history to exceed N376 million in its first two weeks, following the footsteps of ‘Wakanda Forever’ (N499.6 million), ‘SpiderMan: No Way Home’ (N475.7 million), and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (N407 million).

Despite fan excitement over the film’s staggering success, skepticism emerged regarding Funke Akindele’s achievements, with doubts surrounding the reported numbers. However, a closer inspection of the actual admission figures reveals a plausible explanation for its extraordinary performance.

According to CEAN, responsible for collating box office numbers, ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ secured 231,053 admissions in less than three weeks, surpassing blockbuster records held by ‘Sugar Rush’ (229,060) with a 13-week run and ‘King of Boys’ (220,565) with a 17-week run. Experts predict the film may even break ‘Omo Ghetto’s’ admission record of 449,901 before concluding its cinema run.

During the festive season, ticket prices averaged N6000 in regular cinemas and rose to N7000 at IMAX cinemas. Considering the substantial admissions multiplied by these prices, the film’s swift ascent to the billion-naira mark becomes comprehensible.

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Despite economic challenges, Nigerians turned up at cinemas during the festive period, contributing to the Nigerian Box Office earning over N1.65 billion and selling 461,000 tickets between December 1 – 31, 2023. Notably, 88 percent of this business was recorded from December 15 – 31, as reported by the Nigerian Box Office.

The festive period witnessed an influx of Nigerians returning from abroad (‘I Just Got Backs’ or IJGBs), impacting these numbers. Many of these returnees, especially in Lagos, frequented concerts, cinemas, and entertainment spots, seeking a taste of home after prolonged absences.

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Funke Akindele’s film journey is remarkable. In 2020, ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’ set a record with N636.1 million, followed by ‘Battle on Buka Street’ in 2022, surpassing her own record with N668.4 million. She stands as one of two filmmakers to surpass the N1 billion gross at the box office, achieving this feat with only two movies.

Akindele’s effective marketing strategies have been credited for her movies’ success, captivating audiences through compelling trailers, strategic social media campaigns, and promotional materials. Her promotions not only generated anticipation but also established a profound connection between the audience and her films, ensuring packed cinemas and a grand cinematic debut.

With a social media following exceeding 16 million on Instagram alone (ranking as the third most-followed woman in Nigeria), the award-winning actor consistently delivers quality films with captivating storytelling, resonating particularly well with audiences from her native Southwestern Nigeria. This regional alignment holds significance, considering that the South West region hosts 57 percent of Nigeria’s total 81 cinemas, as reported by Statista.

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