Hollywood gets snubbed by Saudi Arabia as local language movies dominate markets in KSA
Los Angeles, August 2 In a surprising turn of events for Hollywood, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has now begun snubbing the industry as local language movies begin to dominate the market in Riyadh.
‘Avatar 2: The Way of Water’ which is one of the biggest films ever made, earning over $2.4 billion at the global box office, and did quite well in KSA was knocked off quite unexpectedly by a local Saudi Arabian film called ‘Sattar’.
The movie is a family comedy drama movie which follows the life of a depressed man who follows his dreams of becoming a freestyle wrestling champion.
According to ‘The Hollywood Reporter’, The film — which had bowed at the Red Sea Film Festival just a month earlier (and where, ironically, the subject of Saudi films not performing had been a talking point) — smashed box office records, earning $2.2 million over its first 12 days, instantly making it the highest-grossing Saudi movie of all time. Granted, the local film industry literally didn’t exist just a few years ago and cinemas only opened in early 2018, but still — history was made.”
Made by the Kuwait based director Abdullah Al Arak, the movie was led by the popular Saudi Arabian comedian Ibrahim Al Hajjaj, and managed to knock off ‘Avatar 2’ off the Saudi Arabian box office by more than 40% in terms of admissions. Gaining a lot of traction through word of mouth alone, as well as being promoted by local producers, the movie slipped just 11% in its second week.
‘Sattar’ marks a somewhat worrisome trend in Hollywood which for several years was dominating the cinemas in the Middle East ranging from countries such as UAE, Kuwait, KSA, Oman, Bahrain and Israel.
‘Oppenheimer’ performed well in Saudi Arabia though the censors did cut out a few scenes in KSA theatres, and another worrisome trend for Hollywood is that much of its recent content concerns LGBTQ+ themes, which KSA among other countries has banned, leading to massive loss in revenue for Hollywood in the country.
Surprisingly Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ wasn’t banned in the country and will hit KSA theatres on August 31, 2023 after the country’s censor board makes its few changes.
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