The Nigerian film industry has been overrun by a frenzy of remakes and sequels of masterpieces from the 1990s since the record-breaking success of Ramsey Nouah’s 2019 sequel to the Nollywood classic, Living in Bondage.
These brand-new films with a nostalgic theme have recently gained popularity with audiences and risen to the top of the local box office charts.
Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, which has garnered numerous continental honors, is one example of a successful film. Omo Ghetto: The Saga by Funke Akindele is the follow-up to Omo Ghetto by Abiodun Olarenwaju. Currently, it is Nigeria’s highest-grossing movie.
The Wedding Party by Kemi Adetiba and Merry Men by Toke Mcbaror both had successful sequels that brought in almost as much money as their predecessors.
Netflix has also gotten involved. The streaming service is now releasing remakes of Amaka Igwe’s RattleSnake and Zeb Ejiro’s Nneka the Pretty Serpent (1992). (1995).
Additionally, it has ordered two new remakes of Domitilla (1996) by Ejiro and Glamour Girls by Chika Onukwufor (1994). For late 2021, both releases are anticipated.
Due to their distinctive original storytelling, inventiveness, and accessibility, these Nollywood masterpieces have maintained their popularity. They were artistic works that reflected Nigerians’ everyday lives. They offered relatable entertainment while expressing societal and cultural ideals.
A group of exceptional performers who delivered performances that made them household names and global stars were also introduced by the great Nollywood films of the 1990s.
During that time, actors like Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Genevieve Nnaji, the late Sam Loco, Sam Dede, Nkem Owoh, and others achieved success.
The 1990 Nollywood film Living in Bondage distinguishes out among the others. In addition to having long emotional resonance, it also advanced the industry financially and served as a model for the Nollywood economic model, sometimes known as “old Nollywood” today.
With the exception of technology and budget size, these vintage films continue to have a significant impact on the business as Nollywood develops and increases its output and professionalism.
Why do people continue to find Nollywood oldies appealing?
According to Nollywood critic Rosemary Bassey, the majority of Nigerians continue to enjoy a significant number of early Nigerian video-film productions. They shared culturally ingrained didactic tales from Nigeria.
Francoise Ugochukwu, a researcher on Nollywood, claims that, after language, this is the second main draw for Nollywood diaspora audiences.
In contrast to the modern Nollywood productions that are mostly motivated by contemporary aesthetics, the nostalgia for old movies is based on their tales that are driven by stories.
The Nigerian film industry is currently in a near-constant experimental phase to find fresh storylines in a saturated market after a decade of artistic stagnation in the 2000s. And at the heart of this innovation is a look back at a time when the classics ruled.
Movie fans still talk about these classic movies with warm memories. The chance is there for taking. Why not make money?
What this implies for the Nollywood industry
Concerns about the organization of the business and intellectual property protection will be the most serious effects of Nollywood’s nostalgia obsession. These sequels and remakes have the potential to increase revenue for the older movies if the economy is strong. I think this will inspire modern filmmakers to take this seriously moving forward.
There are also fewer resources required to create and produce fresh stories when remakes and sequels are pursued. It also calls into question the stories’ sociocultural applicability in a global context. Are today’s Nollywood film producers too profit-driven by the potential of international distribution to start reclaiming and repairing Africa’s shattered reputation?
The moment has come for the government and corporate entities to step in and help Nollywood movies become more competitive on a global scale.