By Andy Sambidge
Film festival chairman says blockbuster coup puts Dubai on the movie map
Hosting the world premiere of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will take Dubai International Film Festival to the "next level", its chairman has said.
Abdulhamid Juma said the movie coup was fitting because Dubai is the "Mission: Possible" of the Arab world.
In comments published by the US-based Hollywood Reporter, Juma added: "Having a movie of this size premiere here really puts us on the map...It takes the Dubai Film Festival to the next level."
The first Dubai Film Festival in 2004 drew around 13,000 fans while more than 50,000 are expected to attend this year’s 8th anniversary event, the paper said.
Five years ago, movie theatres in the UAE sold around three million tickets. Last year that figure was more than 10 million.
Dubai has become a “hotspot for multiplex construction” in the Middle East/Africa region, according to Screen Digest, and a major reason why box office in the area hit $350m.
“This still isn't a huge market but is going in the right direction," said Juma. "The studios think long-term about the potential here."
Other films using the Dubai festival, which starts on December 7, as a launch pad for the region include Disney’s The Muppets, 20th Century Fox’s The Decendants and The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn, all of which have gala screenings at the fest.
A total of 171 films from 56 nations, as well as a host of A-list Hollywood celebrities, will feature in the festival.
Among the celebrities confirmed to attend are Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg, stars of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan.
Ace director Peter Weir, actor Anil Kapoor will also join a number of stars from the GCC including Fakhria Khamis and Buthaina Alraisi from Oman; Dawood Hussain, Ibrahim AlHarbi, Huda Hussain, and Mahmoud Bushehri from Kuwait; Zahra Arafat from Bahrain; and Abdul Mohsen M Alnemer from Saudi Arabia.