Nigerian film-maker, Kunle Afolayan has disclosed that he once told people that ‘Anikulapo’, his chart-topping movie, would be bigger than ‘Game of Thrones’.
‘Game of Thrones’, the American fantasy drama TV series, was produced by Home Box Office (HBO).
It premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011, and concluded in May 2019, with 73 episodes broadcast over eight seasons.
The hit project enjoyed widespread reception across the globe and dominated discussions among movie lovers for years.
Afolayan in an interview with the Guardian UK spoke on the production of ‘Anikulapo’ and the success enjoyed since it was released.
The filmmaker said he originally wanted to make the movie a series but Netflix told him to make a movie first and see if it succeeds before putting out a series.
“I’ve been working on Aníkúlápó for six years. Originally, I wanted to make a series but I shopped it and kept telling people that this movie would be bigger than Game of Thrones. Eventually, Netflix told me to make a movie first since I believed in the project that much and if it became a success, we’d develop a series,” he said.
“Right now, Netflix is the one urging me to start making the series. I knew we made a great film and that it’d start conversations, but I didn’t know it’d do as well as it has done.”
The actor also downplayed the decision of the Nigeria Official Selection Committee (NOSC) not to pick the movie for the 2023 Oscars despite its success.
“I don’t even care about it anymore. I don’t understand the decision and quite a number of the guys in there are people I’d call friends. For the second year running, they’re saying no film from Nigeria deserves to be presented – it makes no sense,” he said.
“Honestly, I’m over it because if Aníkúlápó wasn’t successful, they’d have said it wasn’t picked because of that reason. Now, it’s almost like, ‘How couldn’t you have presented this?”
Kunle Afolayan’s Anikulapo ranks most popular film on Netflix worldwide
The most recent film by Kunle Afolayan, Anikulapo, has made a significant impact on Netflix.
Nearly two weeks after its streaming launch, the director just made data public that showed the epic movie has rated first worldwide. With a total of 8,730,000 global views, Anikulapo is presently ranked among the top 10 non-English language movies on Netflix.
“While this is being celebrated by Nigerians home and abroad, the acceptability of it from people around the world with different cultural background and beliefs proves beyond words that Anikulapo tells a universal story that every human across the world can relate to.”
He continued,“It is also noteworthy to state that the movie in a great way creates an inclusiveness of both male and female character traits, bringing to light the fine thin line between lust and love, hate and resentment, illusion etc Congratulations to us all and thanks to you guys out there for the reviews and referrals.”
The film, which is produced and directed by Afolayan and stars Kunle Remi as the lead character, is set in the historic Oyo kingdom and centres on a young man’s search for better opportunities.
On October 1, 2022, the Netflix original made its debut to raving acclaim.
The majority of its admirers gave the cast’s performances and their portrayals of Yoruba culture high praise. Since then, Afolayan has disclosed plans for a television series based on the movie.
Shooting ‘Gbege’ drained me financially – Filmmaker
Ace filmmaker, Lancelot Imasuen, has said shooting his latest movie, ‘Gbege’ drained him financially and made him to be hospitalised for three days.
He also said although he was not satisfied with the final work, he was still excited at the outcome and the a the move had got so far.
The movie features Mercy Aigbe, Ini Edo, Charles Inojie, Broda Shaggi and Zubby Michael, among others, and it premiered on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at the Blue Pictures Cinemas, Onikan, Lagos.
In an interview with Sunday Scoop, Imasuen said, “I have been very scared about this project. I am grateful to God that this project is getting this kind of reaction. I have never seen this kind of excitement from a movie premiere as a filmmaker; to God be the glory.”
On the challenges he faced while shooting the movie, the filmmaker said, “I spent a lot of money making ‘Gbege’. It drained me. When I was filming, I fell ill and I was hospitalised; I spent three nights in the hospital. It was stressful and it took quite a bit of time. We finished shooting two years ago and post production took this long; I am still not satisfied but let’s just allow it to go, hoping to do better next time. I am happy about the reaction it has got so far.”
In attendance at the movie showcase were Charles Inojie, Chinedu Ikedieze, Nosa Rex, Zeb Ejiro and Tade Ogidan. The movie was officially released to the cinemas on October 7, 2022.
Kunle Afolayan hints at Anikulapo sequel, says the world is waiting
Producer and director, Kunle Afolayan has hinted at a sequel to his much-talked-about movie Anikulapo.
“I started working on Anikulapo six years ago and I wanted to make a series because it is a story that I feel would stretch like Game of Thrones,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise programme on Saturday.
The 47-year-old said he pitched the idea to international streaming and production company Netflix but the firm advised him to make it a film and continue the story depending on the reception.
Asked whether the recently released movie will get a sequel, Afolayan said, “Yea; the whole world wants the story to continue.”
Anikulapo, which translates as ‘death in the pouch, centres on a stranger who strikes an illicit affair with one of the king’s young wives, which eventually gets him sentenced to death after the affair was discovered.
The deeply cultural movie featured veteran actors such as Sola Sobowale, Bimbo Ademoye, Kunle Remi, Hakeem Kae Kazeem, Taiwo Hassan, Aisha Lawal, Moji Afolayan, Adebayo Salami, Eyiyemi Afolayan, Ariyiike Dimples, Omo Ologede, Yemi Elebuibon, and many others.
Giving a behind-the-stage revelation of the movie on Saturday, Afolayan said the movie is an excerpt from Odu Ifa (Ifa literary corpus).
He said most times Muslims and Christians take lessons from chapters of the Qu’ran and Bible respectively and he thought of bringing some lessons out of a parable in Odu Ifa which is an embodiment of the Yoruba divination system.
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The movie maker said his goal is to inform, entertain, educate and communicate cultural values. “I want to tell stories that capture values, cultural values, family values and all of that without necessarily neglecting the essence of why we do content which is entertainment,” he explained.
Afolayan further said that everything about the computer-generated imagery of the movie and other parts of production were done in Nigeria.
On the controversy surrounding the snub of Anikulapo, Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman and King of Thieves by the Oscar selection committee, Afolayan said “it is just a shame” and a “mess” that Oscar committee members didn’t accept three solid epic films that could have represented Nigeria globally.
The producer advised Oscar to review its movie selection process, saying committee members are producers who could be political too.
“We ensured that we met all the criteria…If you have a film that qualified, why would eight members of the committee say no film is eligible? So, up till now, they haven’t come to explain what they mean by no film is eligible,” he said.
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