In December 2018, EbonyLife Films, a studio in Lagos, Nigeria, premiered Chief Daddy, a feature-length drama about an eccentric billionaire who dies suddenly, touching off a madcap scramble among his relatives over his estate. The movie was an immediate hit with audiences in Nigeria. By the end of the month it had emerged as the country’s most popular theatrical release of the year.
Not long ago the economic life cycle of Chief Daddy might have ended there. Nollywood, the nickname for Nigeria’s robust film industry, has long been hamstrung by piracy. For years filmmakers have watched with frustration as swarms of illegitimate DVDs quickly overwhelmed their promising cinematic efforts, slashing potential profits and making it difficult to raise money to produce future films…
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