Living in Bondage: Breaking Free

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Living in Bondage: Breaking Free
Directed byRamsey Nouah
Produced bySteve Gukas
Dotun Olakunri
Charles Okpaleke
Screenplay byNicole Asinugo
C.J. Obasi
Story byNicole Asinugo
StarringSwanky JKA
Kenneth Okonkwo
Ramsey Nouah
Play Entertainment Network, Natives Filmworks, Michelangelo Productions
Release date
  • 8 November 2019 (2019-11-08)
Box office₦167.6million [1]

Living in Bondage: Breaking Free is a 2019 Nigerian drama thriller film produced by Charles Okpaleke[2] and directed by Ramsey Nouah in his directorial debut.[3] It is the sequel to the 1992 classic Living in Bondage,[4][5] and stars Kenneth Okonkwo, with Swanky JKA in his breakout role, and director Nouah as the main villain. The film set box office records and ranked 11th overall on the list of highest-grossing Nigerian films of all time.


Twenty-seven years after the events of the original movie, Nnamdi Nworie (Swanky JKA) – the secret offspring of Andy Okeke's (Kenneth Okonkwo) late second wife – is ambitious but unable to hold down a secure career as an advertising executive five years after graduation. Despite the advice of his cousin Toby (Shawn Faqua) who urges him to believe in his abilities, a frustrated Nnamdi longs for a luxurious lifestyle, and his quest takes him down the same route of his father. A chance meeting with billionaire Richard Williams (Ramsey Nouah) leads him to the notorious secret cult Brotherhood of The Six, and after initiation Nnamdi is catapulted into high society status, acquiring vast wealth and falling in love with the beautiful Kelly (Muna Abii), but his new life comes at a price.

Investigative journalist and blogger Uzoma (David Jone David) grows suspicious of notable billionaires associated with mysterious murders, and consults Andy who is now a pastor. Having experienced the dark side of cultism himself, Andy uses Uzoma's influence to warn his secret son and save him from The Six – now an international organisation – before time runs out.[6]



In 2015, Charles Okpaleke[7] acquired the rights to Living In Bondage from the writer Kenneth Nnebue for a possible remake to be filmed in Europe and America as well as Nigeria.[8][9] The news was later confirmed on Instagram, but languished in development hell for three years.[10] In 2018, Nouah announced the film would become a sequel instead of a remake and titled Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, marking his directorial debut.[11] Actors Okonkwo, Udokwu, and Kanayo who featured in the original were retained.[12]

Filming took place on location in Lagos, Owerri, and Durban.


The official trailer of the film was unveiled on 17 October 2019,[13] with a special premiere held on 2 November 2019 at the Filmhouse Cinemas, Lagos; it was rated as one of the most anticipated Nigerian films for 2019.[14] The film had its theatrical release in Nigeria across 52 locations on 8 November 2019.[15]

Box office[edit]

The film was a huge box office success. It recorded the highest opening weekend for a Nigerian film for 2019, grossing ₦25.8 million, and the highest collection in a single day for a Nollywood film in 2019.[16] The film also recorded the highest opening as a non-comedy film for 2019.[17]

In its first seven days of release, the film grossed ₦48.6 million, as reported by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria.[18] The film collected ₦36.7 million in its second week to remain No. 1 at the Nigerian box office. In the third week, the film collected ₦24.7 million, dropping to No. 2, albeit having the highest weekend admissions. After three weeks it had grossed over ₦100 million. This surpassed the record set by Bling Lagosians.[19] In its fourth week, the film regained the No. 1 spot at the box office and grossed ₦19.6 million over the week. In its 5th week, the film experienced a drop by 38% for its week on week gross, earning ₦12.5 million and dropping to No. 4. The 6th week saw the movie drop to No. 6, earning ₦5.7 million. The 7th week; over the holiday period, the movie grossed ₦5.4 million, dropping by just 6%. The 8th week saw the movie grossed ₦4.6 million staying at No.10 at the Nigerian box office. The final cumulative stood at ₦163.4 million at the box office after 11 weeks.[1] The film ranked eleventh overall, overtaking 30 Days in Atlanta on the list of highest-grossing Nigerian films of all time.[20][21]

The film saw a short theatrical run in March, bringing it's total gross to ₦167.6 million [22]

Honours and awards[edit]

At the 2020 edition of the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards, Living in Bondage received 11 nominations and won in 7 categories including the Overall Best Movie in West Africa and the Best Director categories.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences.[23] It received critical acclaim for its direction, cinematography, and soundtrack, with critics commending Swanky JKA's performance. Conversely, David Jone David's performance received negative reviews.[24] Entertainment website Pulse rated the film as the best Nollywood film for 2019.[25]


  1. ^ a b "Top 20 films 27th December 2019 2nd January 2020". Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria.
  2. ^ StyleVitae (2019-10-22). "Charles Okpaleke Opens Up About Producing 'Living in Bondage'". StyleVitae. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  3. ^ "'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' is perfect for Ramsey Nouah's directorial debut (Review)". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  4. ^ "Living in Bondage: How 1992 classic changed Nollywood". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-11-22. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  5. ^ "Living in Bondage returns 27 years after with 'Breaking Free'". The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News. 2019-11-01. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  6. ^ "The "Living in Bondage" Business model: How exactly does the occult make money from sacrificing souls?". 2019-11-22. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  7. ^ (2019-10-28). "We Had an Exclusive Chat with Charles Okpaleke, Executive Producer of "Living In Bondage: Breaking Free"". BellaNaija. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  8. ^ "Charles Okpaleke explains the idea behind 'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free'". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  9. ^ " – Nigeria's Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  10. ^ "A sequel to the 1992 classic is being made". Pulse Nigeria. 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  11. ^ "Awaiting Second Coming Of Living In Bondage". Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  12. ^ "Where are they now? What the main cast of Nollywood classic 'Living in Bondage' is up to". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-11-06. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  13. ^ "Watch Ramsey Nouah's 'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' trailer". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-10-17. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  14. ^ editor (2019-11-08). "Charles Okpaleke's 'Living in Bondage the Sequel' Premieres". THISDAYLIVE. Retrieved 2019-12-21.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "'Living In Bondage: Breaking Free' out November 8". The Nation Newspaper. 2019-11-02. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  16. ^ "Nigerian Box Office: 'Living in Bondage' sequel continues to outperform movies from huge foreign studios like Sony, Fox and Disney". 2019-11-20. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  17. ^ "'Living in Bondage' sequel becomes highest opening for a non-comedy film". The Nation Newspaper. 2019-11-22. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  18. ^ "'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' displaces 'Terminator' to gross over N25M in first weekend". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-11-13. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  19. ^ "Top 20 films 29th November 1st December 2019". Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  20. ^ "'Living in Bondage': After 3 weeks in cinemas, this 2019 sequel is officially one of the highest-grossing Nigerian movies of all time". 2019-11-26. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  21. ^ Okechukwu, Daniel (2019-11-26). "Living In Bondage: Breaking Free now ninth Highest-Grossing Nigerian Film in History". The Culture Custodian (Est. 2014). Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  22. ^ "Top 20 films 13th 15th March 2020".
  23. ^ "'Living in Bondage': Nigerians respond positively to the sequel to 1992 Nollywood classic". 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  24. ^ "The 3 important things the 'Living in Bondage' sequel got right — and the 1 thing it got wrong". 2019-11-06. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  25. ^ "Pulse List 2019: Top 10 Nollywood movies of the year". Pulse Nigeria. 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2019-12-21.