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B Side, Film

Are Nigerians Tired of Nollywood Romance Films?

Nollywood films might not be doing the right thing with romance.

  • Fancy Goodman
  • 16th February 2023
Are Nigerians Tired of Nollywood Romantic Films?

The Wedding Party  became the highest grossing Nigerian film in 2016. The film follows the story of the wedding of Dunni Coker (Adesua Etomi) and Dozie Onwuka (Banky W). In 2017, the film’s sequel, The Wedding Party 2, also raked in numbers at the box office. The film, like its sequel, also follows a romantic story between two characters—Dozie’s elder brother and Dunni’s bridesmaid. Both The Wedding Party and The Wedding Party 2 currently hold third and fourth positions respectively on the list of highest grossing Nollywood films. One can’t help but wonder if the fact that these films are romance films contributed to their success. 



A Sunday Affair, a romantic film by Ebony Life films premiered on Netflix on Valentine’s day this year. Love in A Pandemic, directed by Akay Mason starring Nancy Isime and Deyemi Okanlawon was released in cinemas on February 10 this year. Though Nollywood is tilting towards crime thrillers (King of Boys, Blood Sisters, Shanty Town, Brotherhood), it is still churning out romantic films. The big question, now, is Are Nigerians tired of seeing these films? 



In the beginning of February, a questionnaire was filled by fifty random Nigerians. The purpose of the questionnaire was to document the disposition of these people towards Nollywood romance films. In the questionnaire, 47 out of 50 people say that they love romance. However, only 42 people say they enjoy seeing romantic films. Out of the 42 people who enjoy seeing romantic films, 35 say they do not enjoy Nollywood romantic films. This means that only 7 out of 42 people that generally like romantic films actually enjoy seeing romance in Nollywood films. This says a lot about Nollywood romantic films. As a matter of fact, 25 people stated that Nollywood romance films all feel the same. This is very surprising, as even most foreign romance films follow the same story: the journey of (in most cases) two individuals who love each other, and how they overcome challenges in order to be with each other. These challenges may be caused by human factors (The Great Gatsby, The Notebook) or non-human factors (Titanic, The Fault In Our Stars, Me Before You). In many cases, romance films end happily, with the lovers overcoming their challenges and ending up with each other. In other cases, the story ends tragically as they are separated by circumstances like death or sickness. Needless to say, most of these films pretty much have the same stories, only with characters and elements explored a little differently. Why then is the disposition towards Nollywood romance films any different?  This might have a lot to do with the execution of Nollywood films generally.  


With regards to this, one of the people who filled the questionnaire states, “Nigerians don’t know how to tell genuine Nigerian stories, so sometimes there is a disconnect because it doesn’t represent our reality”. This is a general problem with Nollywood films that affects quite a number of genres.  Another person writes, “Love in Nigeria is handwork. Teach us how to love easily”. 


Films are meant to reflect what we experience as people, and love, relationships and romance are no exceptions to those experiences. Nigerians, like other normal human beings, long for romance, and this is why we sometimes react to some scenes in films the way we would react to real situations. That being said, better execution in the plot of Nollywood romance films is needed  in order to evoke the right emotions and suspend disbelief. Whilst doing this, Nigerian filmmakers also need to avoid clichés. Perhaps the combination of these, for a start, would make more people gravitate towards their romance films.

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