Home Nollywood Movies And TV What Is Nollywood And How Did The Name Emerge?

What Is Nollywood And How Did The Name Emerge?

How Did The Name Nollywood Emerge?

by Chukwunwike Ezegbu
What Is Nollywood - Kenneth Okonkwo

What Is Nollywood?

Nollywood, folks, is not your average film industry. It possesses an undeniable power and influence! Picture this: over 2,500 movies are produced each year, surpassing Hollywood in output. Only Bollywood in India can boast a higher number. The term “Nollywood” was introduced by Norimitsu Onishi, a journalist from The New York Times, in 2002.. Onishi stumbled upon a whirlwind of filmmaking activity in Lagos, Nigeria, and realized something big was happening. While Nollywood may not rake in as much cash as Hollywood or Bollywood, it’s renowned for its incredible output and resourcefulness. In its early days, Nollywood films had a DIY vibe, but they’ve since elevated their game, delivering high-quality productions across various genres like comedy, drama, horror, historical dramas, musicals, and animations. They’ve got it all, folks!

How Did The Name Nollywood Emerge?

Now, here comes the fascinating aspect. The term “Nollywood” doesn’t have a precise definition. However, it first appeared in a 2002 New York Times article by Matt Steinglass, who used it to describe Nigerian cinema. Norimitsu Onishi later popularized the name in a September 2002 New York Times story. There are theories circulating that propose the blending of “Nigeria” and “Hollywood” as the origins of the name, an homage to the renowned American film industry. Whether you consider it a portmanteau or a sobriquet, Nollywood has become synonymous with Nigerian filmmaking, captivating audiences around the globe.

Which Country Has Nollywood?

Hold onto your seats, folks, because Nollywood isn’t confined to a specific location. It represents an entire industry! While the primary production hub is Lagos, Nigeria, the term “Nollywood” encompasses the entirety of the Nigerian film industry. It emerged during the early 2000s and has since extended its reach to include African diaspora movies connected to Nigeria or tailored specifically for Nigerian audiences. Nollywood is more than just a place—it’s a movement!

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History Of Nollywood

Let’s take a journey through history and explore the captivating story of Nigerian cinema, also known as Nollywood. We can break it down into four main eras: the Colonial Era, the Golden Age Era, the Video Film Era, and the Emerging New Nigerian Cinema. In the late 19th century, motion pictures made their debut in Nigeria through peephole viewing devices. As the 20th century dawned, these devices gave way to improved motion picture exhibition technologies, setting the stage for the birth of Nollywood. Since its modest inception to its present standing as a cultural sensation, Nollywood has enthralled viewers with its multifaceted storytelling and compelling plots.

Is Nollywood Bigger Than Hollywood?

Despite Nollywood’s noteworthy advancements in the global film industry and its surging popularity, it is crucial to clarify that Nollywood is not presently larger than Hollywood in terms of financial earnings or global impact. Hollywood continues to be the predominant powerhouse in the international film landscape, boasting vast distribution networks, blockbuster hits, and a worldwide presence. Nevertheless, Nollywood’s rapid expansion, substantial output of films, and growing international viewership have established it as a significant player in the global film market. Through its distinctive storytelling and cultural significance, Nollywood has steadily etched its place and garnered acknowledgment on a global scale.

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Is Nollywood The Second-Largest Film Industry?

Nollywood, the renowned Nigerian film sector, proudly holds the position of the world’s second most significant contributor in terms of movie production, delivering an impressive annual output of over 2,500 films.

This staggering number surpasses Hollywood and is only overshadowed by Bollywood in India. The term “Nollywood” itself emerged in 2002 when Norimitsu Onishi, a New York Times journalist, observed a surge of filmmaking activities in Lagos, Nigeria.

While Nollywood may not generate the same level of revenue as Hollywood or Bollywood, it is renowned for its prodigious content creation, achieved under significantly more challenging conditions. In its early days, Nollywood films exhibited a home video-like quality. However, the Nigerian film industry has made significant strides in recent times, improving both its technical prowess and production standards. While Nollywood has been primarily associated with comedy and drama genres, it has now begun venturing into new territories, including horror, historical dramas, musicals, and animated films. These newer offerings boast industry-standard picture and sound quality, showcasing Nollywood’s evolution and expansion.

Some Notable Nollywood Movies

Now, let’s talk movies, folks! We’ve handpicked few Nollywood movies that helped shape the Nigerian movie industry.

Living In Bondage (1992): This groundbreaking film marked the beginning of the video film industry in Nigeria. Prepare yourself for an epic clash of cosmic forces, where themes of love, betrayal, resilience, and ultimate redemption intertwine in a gripping narrative.
Director: Chris Obi Rapu
Language: Igbo
Genre: Drama
Main Cast: Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Francis Agu, Bob-Manuel Udokwu, Nnena Nwabueze, Grace Ayozie, Rita Nzelu, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, Ngozi Nwaneto
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Running Time: 2 hours 43 minutes

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Nneka the Pretty Serpent (1994): A Nigerian horror drama that kick-started the trend of demon-possessed storylines cleansed by pastors. Get ready for a thrilling and spine-chilling experience.
Director: Zeb Ejiro
Language: Igbo
Genre: Drama, Horror
Main Cast: Ndidi Obi, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, Ngozi Ezeonu, Rita Nzelu, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Nelly Uchendu
IMDb Rating: (No rating)
Running Time: 2 hours

Rattlesnake (1995): An action-packed film written and directed by Amaka Igwe. Join Ahanna on his journey through the treacherous world of crime, loyalty, and redemption.
Director: Amaka Igwe
Language: Igbo
Main Cast: Francis Duru, Nkem Owoh, Sunny McDon, Julius Agwu, Ebele Uzochukwu, Okechukwu Igwe, Ernest Obi, Ejike Methuselah, Remy Ohajianya, Stella Damasus
IMDb Rating: 7.9
Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

There you have it, folks—an exclusive glimpse into the captivating world of Nollywood. From its rise to global fame to its unparalleled output and captivating storytelling, Nollywood continues to make waves in the film industry. Now is the time to seize your snacks, create an ambiance by adjusting the lighting, and fully immerse yourself in the dynamic and lively realm of Nigerian cinema. . Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the ever-enthralling world of entertainment!

For all the latest Nollywood celebrity gossip and news updates, be sure to follow NollywoodCelebs on social media. Stay in the loop and enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes content from your favorite Nigerian movies.

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