Gulf Film Secures Theatrical Rights To ‘Spectre’ Across Middle East (EXCLUSIVE)

Nick Vivarelli

Dubai-based distributor Gulf Film has secured Middle East theatrical distribution rights to “Spectre” and plans to release the upcoming 24th James Bond film across the region on November 6, day-and-date with its U.S. outing.

Gulf Film’s agreement with MGM is being touted as a key step in the expansion of the regions’s dominant local distribution/exhibition outfit.

“It was very important for us to secure the rights of a movie of that stature,” said Gulf CEO Selim El Azar, noting that “the production budget on ‘Spectre’ is north of $250 million.”

“Being the biggest distribution company in the Middle East, along with our exhibition arm, we approached MGM saying that what we could offer is definitely better and bigger than what others can,” he boasted.

The November 6 Middle East release of “Spectre” will take place across more than 250 screens, at least 115 of which in multiplexes owned by Gulf Films’ Novo Cinemas exhibition arm located in 14 facilities across Qatar, the UAE and Jordan. Novo Cinemas operate four Imax screens.The bulk of Middle East theatrical revenue now come from the Gulf for several reasons, not least of which the fact that ticket prices are higher.

Gulf Films, which is owned by Qatar Media Services, handles at least half the films released in the Middle East, including plenty of Hollywood product such as Paramount and Universal titles.

In January Gulf Films scored boffo returns from the Middle East release of Fox’s Liam Neeson-starrer “Taken 3,” which pulled in $10.3 million — the region’s ninth box office intake ever – after Neeson made the trek to Dubai for the Middle East’s first Hollywood-style fan premiere.

“Now we are in discussions with MGM to also host Daniel Craig, though this is not confirmed,” El Azar said. “We will use every possible marketing tool to promote this film,” he added.

“Skyfall,” the 23rd Bond pic, which broke box office records in the U.S. and the U.K., took $9.3 million in the region in 2012 via Lebanese distributor Selim Ramia and company.

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