'City of Life' makes AED500,000 in opening weekend

Dubai's first major int'l film shoots to No 2 spot at UAE box office.
'City of Life' makes AED500,000 in opening weekend
(Getty Images)
By Shance McGinley
Fri 30 Apr 2010 09:30 AM

'City of Life', the first feature film produced and set in Dubai, came second in the UAE box office on its first weekend on release and its makers are now planning to show the film at the Cannes Film Festival later this year, a producer behind the film told
Arabian Businesson Thursday.

The film, which was directed and written by Emirati filmmaker Ali F Mustafa, made AED509,085 ($138,598) in its first four days in release when it was released on April 22, according to official box office data from Italia Film International.

"We are elated. It was what we were hoping for," said Tim Smyth, CEO of Film works and the producer of the film.

The movie, which was filmed and set in Dubai, was only beaten by Warner Brothers' $125m Hollywood blockbuster 'Clash of the Titans', which generated AED4,087,043 ($1.112m) in the same weekend and was also a new release.

Smyth added that film's distributors were expecting 6,000 people to attend 'City of Life' during the opening weekend, but it attracted more than double that, with 15,807 UAE cinemagoers opting to pay to see the new release.

"To come second, considering the number of screens we were on, which was about a third of the number of screens 'Clash of the Titans' was on, is a monumental success and I am very proud for Ali Mustafa," he said.

Watch the trailer of City of Life:

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He confirmed that the film's producers are also planning to release the film across the rest of the Gulf countries and within the next week they will sign an international distribution deal and then plan to market the film at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Earlier this year, Smyth told Arabian Business that it was usually difficult for Arabic films to turn a profit as there are such few cinema screens in the Gulf.

City of Life: Behind the scenes

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There are only 400 cinema screens in the Middle East and if a film costs $1.5m to make a producer has to generate well over $3m at the box office just to break even and cover costs and repaying investors. "That's very difficult on 400 screens," said Smyth.

Revenues generated in the region are also lower than international levels.

Data from boxofficemojo.com shows that during the first thirteen weeks of 2010 the UAE box office generated an average of $4.05 per person. While this is still much higher than the $1.43 in Bahrain, it is still well below the average for the US, which is at $7.89.

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