King of Boys Film Sets The Pace For What New Nollywood Could Be

King of Boys Film Sets The Pace For What New Nollywood Could Be

The King Of Boys movie hit the theatre screens in October of 2018 and had the longest box office run in Nollywood history to become one of the highest grossing movies in the industry today - oh yes it continued to show until February of 2019.

In similar fashion as other successful film releases after doing it's rounds in the cinemas, it was licensed on Amazon Prime and few other SVOD platforms in July 2019 to a diaspora audience where it went on to still make a big impression, stirring even more conversations and interest online before it then made it to Netflix in September of 2019 showing both to fans at home in Nigeria and others worldwide eliciting tremendous response and acceptance, amassing a following that would lead some to refer to the film as a cult classic.

Also before King of Boys would make streaming platforms it had a limited release in UK cinemas premiering there in December 2018, when it's planned 2 week run got extended to a month and out-performed DC Comics' Aqua Man movie within the time of its limited run in the handful of theatres where it showed according to reports.

Fast forward to 2021, three years after the successful first installment of the Kemi Adetiba - directed classic impacted the screens, the sequel - Return Of The King; came out to meet high anticipation but this time as a 7 episode limited series on Netflix in a first of it's kind deal and fashion.

Why was this?

Producer, Remi Adetiba gave a rather simple answer, Kemi likes to write, A LOT.

The first film was cut to about 2hrs 40mins for cinema run from a director's cut of a little over 3hrs as seen on streaming version. This was possibly the only noteworthy pitfall of the movie especially as it might have grossed more with less run time in the cinema allowing for more showings in the day given the demand.

The team had initially set out to make a 2-volume film for the sequel, with Netflix having approached Adetiba after the success of the first movie. But what was initially intended as a movie was eventually re-birthed as an electric 7 part series - a pivot no one saw coming, making King Of Boys: Return of The King the first Netflix Original Series to come out of Nollywood, this hailing down from a highly successful movie prequel.

This arrangement also worked as a smart move as cinemas and most things were shut down credit due pandemic, during the time of the film's production and people were more likely to consume content sitting at home.

There may never be another content materializing in this way on Netflix or any other streaming platform.

Kemi, the Bruce Lee of visuals as she humorously refers to herself pulled a hat trick with the sequel's plot also by employing the stellar acting talent of screen OGs RMD, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Charly Boy, Keppy Ekpeyong-Bassey and Bimbo Manuel. Then brilliantly tapping into the energies of the artistic personas of rap stars Reminisce and Illbliss who also brought their A+ game to both installments didn't go unnoticed.

Even though there have been other Nollywood films as successful as KOB at box office, few if any, have had the same level of engagement and impact in the film industry. Return Of The King on Netflix trended at number 1 in Nigeria from release date August 27th for over a week before getting bumped down to number 2 for three days and then rose back up to number 1 over Money Heist and others for another 10 days before dropping and has remained on top 10 trending list ever since. KOB movie came up and trended at number 2 next to Return of The King for over a week before rolling off and yet remains in top 10 trending in movies section of Netflix Nigeria.

Return of The King also trended internationally making number 7 in Ukraine and number 3 in Jamaica according to reports.

We believed strongly in the project and anticipated success but the feedback came in volume and ways we didn't expect - paraphrasing Remi Adetiba, we created a GIF library of 125 GIFs for KOB 1 and got 56.7million view sharing across social media, for Return of The King we've only uploaded 17 GIFs in the library, even without officially pushing them out we've had over 50k views in just1 week. Fan made memes flying around everywhere everyday, it's crazy.

You would read and hear African film snubs make comments like "I usually don't watch Nollywood films but I watched this one more than once, I loved it". Even the British parliament displayed FOMO, where a speaker in a foreign committee session mentioned KOB Return of The King that they may get roles as extras, jokingly of course.

There is also a KOB documentary on the way, though the release date is yet uncertain. We are also currently uncertain of follow up plans for Kemi Adetiba Visuals and King Of Boys but we do believe the success of this film franchise definitely primes Netflix's interest as well as that of other OTT platform giants in collaborating with more Nigerian creatives to make more Original film content for global consumption in lucrative deals.

-by Ugo Mordi

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