Highly decorated Nollywood actress, producer and film director, Genevieve Nnaji has become the first Nollywood billionaire after American streaming platform, Netflix acquired her blockbuster film ‘Lion Heart’.
Lion Heart, a film directed by Genevieve herself is the first original Nigerian movie distributed exclusively on Netflix.
According to reports, Genevieve Nnaji sold Lionheart to Netflix for a whopping $3.5 million while still retaining full copyright and ownership of the movie. The company bought the movie after it caught their attention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where it was screened in 2018.
The $3.5 million deal makes Genevieve Nnaji one of Africa’s richest actresses and directors. Seeing that this is her first time as a director, Genevieve has not only raised the bar in the movie scene in Africa but for movie directors on the continent as well.
The million dollar contract with Netflix also makes her Nigeria’s first ever billionaire in the movie industry as $3.5 million exchanges to over a billion Naira.
Netflix’s purchase of Lionheart has since paved way for more African originals on their list and more diversity in the company.
This 2019, Netflix will air its first original African series, titled Queen Sono. The show will center on a complex, diverse female character, in line with how Netflix has sought to shake up leading man roles with shows like Jessica James and Luke Cage.
The show also promises to deliver some classic spy drama tropes that traditionally play so well across small and big screens. With South African actress Pearl Thusi in the lead role, Queen Sono will have to juggle dangerous missions with personal drama. Her missions will take her across the continent, with her home base a spy agency in South Africa.