One question has always sparked argument among many Nigerians (and probably resident non-Nigerians alike). Nollywood, the Nigerian movie industry or Hollywood, which is the king? You are probably having the argument in your head already too. Movie enthusiasts spent Over N412 million naira in Nigerian cinemas in the month of February 2020.

This appears quite impressive. It is, however, a significant drop from the N551.9 million accrued in January of the same year. Indeed, moviegoers spent a remarkable amount in theatres all over the country in January. 

Love made all the money?

The amazing CEAN statistics for February show a huge improvement year-on-year. ‘How?’ You may ask. Nigerians spent only N267 million at cinemas in February 2019! You see now that the February 2020 figure is a massive increase. CEAN film statistics demonstrate that this is a 35.25% increase from 2019. 

The significant difference in the revenue generated is because more people actually patronized the Nigerian cinemas. In February 2019, according to CEAN, an estimate of 200,000 people visited Nigerian cinemas.

Fast-forward to 2020, over 360,928 individuals went to watch the top 20 movies for February 2020. Some people may argue that February is after all the month of love. Hence, the increase was not unprecedented. Do not forget that it was also the month of love when a lower figure was recorded back in 2019. 

The Valentine season contributed to the massive N412 million that was realized by Nigerian cinemas. As numerous people visited the cinemas to have a nice time with their loved ones, the third week witnessed a grossing of more than N109 million. This was recorded as the highest weekly grossing in February. Particularly, the Valentine weekend (February 14 – 16) had a great contribution to the revenue generated by Nigerian cinemas. Nigerian cinemas pulled in more than N80.2 million, as attendance surged during this particular weekend. 

Generally, all the other weeks in February witnessed impressive entries. Nigerian cinema operators made more than N80 million per week! (It’s high time we started investing in the Nigerian cinema industry).

Growth in Nigerian Cinemas?
Growth in Nigerian Cinemas?

Is this growth?

In all, the statistics and figures from CEAN have spoken. Nigerian cinematic business is indeed growing. However, the burning question is this: is Nollywood actually growing?

It is pertinent for us to expound that although this February statistics are impressive, Nigerian cinematic businesses have actually suffered a great deal from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to CEAN, cinemas across the country have lost 30% of their weekend revenues since January! In January, before the pandemic waves of the COVID-19, Nigerian cinemas recorded a gross weekend revenue as high as 75.9 million Naira. However, by the time the Coronavirus pandemic began to take its toll on the economy as a whole in March, the figures dropped to 45.2 million Naira! 

What are Nigerians Watching?

It is true that our local cinemas are progressing. However, we need to ask. Which movies do Nigerian moviegoers watch the most? Is Nigeria cinema growing because of Hollywood?

It is the widespread belief that Nigerians love foreign movies more than indigenous ones. This may actually be true. Regardless, the statistics show that there is little difference here. In fact, it has been seen that Nigerians actually do watch a lot of Nigerian movies. 

In February 2020, Nigerian cinema operators reeled in N217 million from Hollywood movies. On the other hand, they realized N168 million from Nollywood movie attendance. Combined, these two industries accounted for a whopping 94% of the entire grossing in February. 

Other movie industries such as Bollywood and Gollywood are not far behind. However, they have never really broken records in the country’s cinemas. These other movie industries accounted for only N25 million of the total earnings.

In February, the highest watched movie was the Hollywood film was Bad Boys For Life. The movie grossed N77 million that month. In total, it has grossed a whopping N166 million since it was released in January. 

Now let’s compare this with a top Nollywood movie. Our Nollywood comparison movie will be Sugar Rush. Released in December 2019, this movie managed to hold a position in the top 4 films in Nigeria. Sugar Rush has grossed N275 million in Nigerian cinemas since it was released.


It is evident that the gap between Hollywood and Nollywood is starting to close up. Nollywood movies can be seen taking a large percentage on the top 20 movies list. 

The fact is that Nollywood is growing. We can not overlook the fact that Nigerians have developed a strong liking for Nigerian movies. Nollywood is breaking records in the international film industry. We are positive that Nollywood will overtake the American film industry, at least starting with our own cinematic audience.

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