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Nollywood’s Biggest Blockbuster? “Half of a Yellow Sun” Had a $10 Million Budget




The adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s best selling novel – Half of a Yellow Sun, cost the production team a lot of Benjamins.

Half of a Yellow Sun set to premiere in Nigeria on Saturday 12th April 2014, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Genevieve Nnaji, O.C. Ukeje, Onyeka Onwenu, John Boyega, Anika Noni Rose, Zach Orji, Gloria Young and Tina Mba.

Biyi Bandele, who also directed the MTV BaseShuga” Series, was the director.

According to Yewande Sadiku, an Executive Producer of the film, finding the funds for the flick was no easy task. “After I successfully raised $1bn for an undisclosed telecommunications company in Nigeria, I thought it would be very easy to raised $12m to shoot Half of a Yellow Sun. But I was wrong.” she said at a private screening on Tuesday at the Ozone Cinemas, Yaba, Lagos.

She further stated that “After I was turned down by some investors, I became very sad and unhappy for Nollywood. But the required funds were finally realised. The movie costs us about $10m dollars to shoot and this is beside other fees“.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton will be present at the premiere in Lagos.

Watch the Trailer

Punch was first to report the story.


  1. Abike

    March 28, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I’m sorry but how is Half of a yellow sun a Nollywood movie??? I’m confused.

    • Iyfee

      March 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Hello Abike, what makes you think it’s not a Nollywood movie? Can you call it Hollywood? The writer and producer is a Nigerian. The major actors are Nigerians except for Thandie Newton and a few others. And I heard it was shot on a location in Nigeria. Nigerian story too. Because Chimamanda is an International writer doesn’t mean her works can’t be related to Nigeria where she comes from. Yes, premiered in Canada, and UK… So??? The Movie ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ is a Nollywood movie

    • FYI

      April 14, 2014 at 2:59 am

      It is NOT a Nollywood movie. Take this under good authority from someone who knows the producers. Its a movie meant to transcend the international scene like those which made the Oscars eg the last king of Scotland or Mandela a long walk to freedom…..and yes Hollywood being a major player, you can rightfully call it a potential Hollywood movie…or an aspiring Hollywood movie. It is not low budget nor is it being marketed or sold on ebinpejo lane. There are certain characteristics a movie must have in order to classify it as Nollywood so NO it’s not a Nollywood movie…..FYI you won’t be seeing it on Africa Magic either. The idea is for it to follow the path of a Hollywood movie…theater to DVD… what if the artists are mainly Nigerian? That is not an automatic label to say its a Nollywood movie. stop spreading wrong information with so much confidence. Support your people to do bigger things and rise to higher standards.

  2. Troll

    March 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I hope they make the money back though I doubt it. IMO, the PR for this movie haven’t done a good job promoting it in Nigeria. If I hadn’t been visiting BN, I wouldn’t have heard anything about it.

  3. Modella

    March 28, 2014 at 11:49 am

    How much is that in naira BN? Am not familiar with $$! Is that too much to asked?

    • Bleed Blue

      March 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm


    • SisiRomi

      March 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Multiply the dollar amount by 165 on a good day.
      Multiply by 162 on a bad day.
      Well your definition of good and bad might be different as I am looking at it from how much my dollar can buy the Naira.

    • Zinny

      March 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Sisi are you sure about the exchange ? The last time i checked it w172, I’m I wrong ?

  4. Ade

    March 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I think the first question we need to ask is ‘What is a Nollywood Film’? Is a Nollywood film a Film produced/part produced and shot/part shot in Nigeria or is it a low budget film bereft of any production value recorded straight unto DVD?

    What I know is that it’s a project championed by a Nigerian Executive Producer and part funded by Nigerians. Did I also mention it was shot in Nigeria?

    • Iyfee

      March 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Ade: Championed by a Nigerian Executive Producer and part funded by Nigerians… Yes! That makes it a Nollywood/Nigerian Film. Anything more? Lol. And a Nollywood film is not a low budget production, nor straight to DVD movies. Even in the US, low budget movies are still being shot, and straight to DVD movies are still seen.

    • Ade

      March 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      I totally get you. However, the same way we have come to recognise a ‘Hollywood’ film to mean the big budget productions from Los Angeles is the same way that ‘Nollywood’ signifies low budget, poor production value films out of Alaba Market to a lot of people. I hope this film succeeds as an investment cos it could help change perceptions about Nollywood and ultimately create a model for all serious film makers to adopt for future productions.

  5. Thatgidigirl

    March 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Can my Aba brothers please let them make their money back?

  6. dude

    March 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    If Nollywood were to be defined with a parallel yard stick as its int’l counterpart Hollywood it would mean films made solely for escapism and commercial returns. But th film I question is to me for conscious as opposed to th reputation Nollywood has inadvertently established for itself. That being said ‘Half of of Yellow Sun’ is an independent film or indie, not a Nollywood production as it was part funded by a British production company as well a t aforementioned reasons. The only ‘Nollywood’ actor in the film is Miss Nnaji. So I wouldn’t really call it a Nollywood film.

    • Iyfee

      March 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Hello Dude, Half of A Yellow Sun has the likes of OC Ukeje, Zack Orji, Onyeka Onwenu, Tina Mba, Gloria Young, Genevieve Nnaji. These are all Nollywood actors, maybe you need to watch the trailer again. I think the community that funded the production shouldn’t determine if it should be called a Nollywood /Hollywood film. The producer is Nigerian, Chiwetel Ejiofor who played the lead role is Nigerian. I think it has more of Nigerian components than Hollywood from the script-writing to the finished work on the the screen. It’s Nollywood.

    • e-bukun

      March 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      So Tina Mba, Norbert and Gloria Young, OC Ukeje, Zack Orji and Onyeka Onwenu are Nollywood spirits abi? I won’t consider it a Nollywood movie, but still come on.

  7. @edDREAMZ

    March 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    This is going to be the biggest movie premier in nigeria no doubt…..

  8. oma

    March 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Many hollywood locations are shot in various locations across the globe. Does that make them movies not from hollywood? Nigrians will find anything to tear down credible work……. very long hiss

  9. oma

    March 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Many hollywood *movies*

  10. nene

    March 28, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    how do films cost a lot much money? i’m yet to understand the whole hollywood film model. Also, i believe people like Ms. Sadiku should invest in the Nigerian film industry, most Nigerian filmmakers don’t need $10 million to make a good movie. i recommend izu ojukwu, tunde kelani, teco benson, amaka igwe and kunle afolayan. i think these are serious filmmakers who know what they’re doing.

    • Leila

      March 29, 2014 at 12:52 am

      @Nebe just delete Teco Benson from that list, all that delayed action movies he shoots, I think he needs super training to direct or shoot any action movies abeg. Don’t worry he will still call you for auditions just for the free publicity.

  11. dude

    March 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Iyfee, this film has no ties with Hollywood as it had no American major studio backing. Films that do are the Hollywood films, produced and / or distributed by the likes of Warner Bros or Paramount. This film hasn’t been backed by any of such Nollywood attached studios and neither have they or will they striker a distribution deal with those on Iweka Road or Edidi Lane in Idumota. I have from a credible source that half of the money was dropped by a family in Nigeria here and the other half from Potboiler productions in the UK and Andrea Calder wood. Both have produced Indie films like Vera Drake, The Constant Gardener, Last King of Scotland et al. So, darling, this film is not Nollywood.


    March 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Thats a lot of money. I’m sure it will be worth it

  13. okk

    March 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    This is not a Nollywood film, It is an Independent film.

  14. adamma

    March 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    They wou;d never have called it a Nollywood movie if they had gotten major Hollywood distribution. They didn’t so they came back home. I understand it is opening in Australia, UK and a few other countries. I sincerely hope it grosses big there. How much can they possibly hope to make from 15-20 cinemas in Nigeria. They initially snubbed Nollywood. All those Nigerian cast played extras, now it is suddenly Nollywood film. I hear. A 10million dollar budget Nollywood or Indie movie isn’t in my opinion very wise. And like someone said.:They need to do massive publicity if they hope to go anywhere near breaking even. I wish them well. I will support by going to see it.

  15. Liz

    March 29, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Nigerians can talk!!! What makes a film a Nollywood film? Which made in Nigeria film is not “independent”? Let us not become PHDs (Pull Her Down). Did the lady do wrong by helping to raise funding for a film shot in Nigeria, directed by a Nigerian, largely cast with Nigerians, and based on a book of Nigerian events written by a Nigerian?

    • oohlala

      April 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      I would say she didn’t do her homework well enough. Biyi is a first time director for such a big project, doesn’t sound wise to me. The film was shot in Nigeria with almost all British cast and crew so how did that help Nigeria? It’s early days yet though. Let’s see how the film does particularly in Nigeria.

  16. Stephanie

    March 29, 2014 at 11:47 am

    wow…nid to watch dis movie sef

  17. Vuvuzela

    March 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    It is a British production that happened to be shot in Nigeria using a few Nigerian actors. The producer was Andrea Caldwell and the director though Nigerian in name is more British in thinking than anything. Saying it is a Nollywood film is the same as saying ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ is a Bollywood film. It was not.

  18. Mac

    August 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Is this a Nollywood film? I think we have to take it as a Nollywood film, there are a lot of stars in it.

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