It is one of the most anticipated Nollywood films of all time and the trailer for King Of Boys: The Return Of The King was released Monday amid frenzy from fans of the crime and political thriller, who call themselves the KOB Army.
The seven-part project is Netflix’s first Original Series from Nigeria and a sequel to the highly acclaimed 2018 King of Boys movie directed by leading director Kemi Adetiba.
Fans can now take a peek at what to expect, as formidable businesswoman Eniola Salami, played by Nollywood veteran Sola Sobowale, returns to Nigeria after a five-year exile eager to mete out blood-curdling punishments to her adversaries.
Following the success of the first installation, which made over N450 million ($1M) at the box office, Adetiba announced a sequel was in the works.
After a two-year wait, she revealed that the sequel initially intended to be a movie will be a Netflix Original limited series.
The KOB Army
The KOB Army has shown immense support for the franchise since the first movie, with fans making plans for viewing parties and special outfits when it premieres on August 27 on Netflix.
As the release day for the sequel draws nearer, the anticipation runs high as many wait with bated breath to see The Return Of The King. But fans are not the only ones eager; Adetiba describes the weight of the expectation as “awaiting a report card for the last year and a half of my life.”
“My anxiety these days ranges from numb to severe…so I too am on tenterhooks, she says. “But I’m mostly absolutely thrilled by the love and support of the KOB ARMY. It’s been so overwhelming. The massive anticipation simply shows us how well-loved KOB 1 is.”
The King of Boys has been a stand-out movie for modern Nollywood. It was the sophomore film by Adetiba, whose directorial debut, The Wedding Party, was the unopposed Nollywood movie of the year 2016, being the highest-grossing film until January 2021 and spotlighting Adetiba, who already made her mark in the music and television industry, as a filmmaker of note.
The new installment will see old characters from the original, including actor Toni Tones, who reprises her role as a young Eniola Salami and musician Reminisce as Makanaki.
It also introduces new characters who have a bone to pick with Salami. Among them are seasoned actors Nse Ikpe-Etim and Nollywood heartthrob Richard Mofe Damijo.
King of Boys is a departure from the cheery, bright romcom of The Wedding Party into the dark crime-filled world of Eniola Salami, whose quest for power leaves a trail of dead bodies in her wake.
It was a wager which paid off in an industry known of late for primarily producing comedies to meet the audience’s demand. Of the top 10 highest-grossing Nollywood movies, King of Boys is the sole thriller on the list.
Trusting the audience
Adetiba says the successful outing taught her not to cage her audience.
“I remember once in film school, an instructor said, ‘If you treat your audience as if they were intelligent, they’ll love you for it,’” she says.
“Yes, I was told that the audience wasn’t ready for a film like KOB.” Still, Adetiba and her brother, Remi Adetiba, who co-produces the franchise, persisted in bringing the project to light.
“Running on blind faith, we were all, “Go Big Or Go Home.” It was our very own ‘Do It Afraid’ moment, but we jumped in the deep end, and our amazing audience, aka KOB ARMY, thanked us with their massive support. Just as my instructor said.”
Not only was the genre a deviation from the norm in modern Nollywood, but her lead figure was complex in a way that is rarely done in the industry, where characters are usually portrayed as either good or evil.
Adetiba says it was vital for her to highlight this complexity because it mirrors real life.
“I love my characters to be relatable…There are many facets to you and I. Understanding this then creating a character that is one-dimensional is an injustice.”
“So when I’m creating a character like Eniola Salami … I’m interested in who s(he) is to all those different people. In Eniola’s life, we have her family, those she encounters in everyday life, her legit business customers, then her interactions… in the ‘underworld.’”
Adetiba says the production has been a real labor of love and promises a great time.
“We threw everything into this production… including the kitchen sink. We gave everything we had, so it’s a product of REAL love, blood, sweat and tears. Most important of all, it’s a great story.”