By Shane McGinley
Lack of new films from distributors during holy month results in low attendances each year
The UAE's cinemas are expecting box office revenues to slump by over 60 percent during Ramadan as attendances drop and film distributors shelf new releases until after the holy month, Arabian Business has learned.
Figures from Italia Films in Dubai reveal that last year UAE cinema attendance slumped 63.2 percent during the holy month, compared to the month previous. Total box office earnings for the month fell 62.8 percent to AED13.1m (US$3.58m), compared to AED35.4m (US$9.63m) the month before.
“Every year Ramadan is a quiet month,” one movie distributor told Arabian Business.
The trend was the same in 2010 and 2009, when attendances and box office earnings slumped by 80 percent and 68 percent respectively during Ramadan.
The main reason behind low attendances is distributors’ reluctance to release movies during the holy month. “A lot of people during Ramadan are fasting and are not in a position to go to the cinema after an iftar. It’s difficult,” a spokesperson from Prime Pictures in Dubai, promoters of Cinemacity in the Arabian Centre in Mirdiff, Dubai, said.
However, the slump may not be as dramatic this year due to a series of blockbusters being released during the final days of Ramadan.
According to the release schedule from Italia Films, August 16, the last weekend of Ramadan, will see the debut of the long-awaited Batman film: ‘Dark Knight Rises’, along with new Disney cartoon ‘The Brave’, the fourth in the ‘Step Up’ dance movie franchise and Sylvester Stallone’s action movie ‘The Expendables 2’.
The data shows that most years revenues recovers soon after Ramadan. In 2011, box office takings for the four weeks before Ramadan was AED35m. While it fell to AED13m during Ramadan, it was back up to AED39m in the four weeks after the holy month, a rise of 198 percent month-on-month.
I am so disappointed that we won't see "Batman - The Dark Knoght Rises" until after Ramadan...
This is the same county claims to want be Hollywood
Middle East ? Not much of a Batman fan either