Leading Saudi exhibitor Muvi Cinemas is ramping up its production activities and will start shooting on its next Saudi film El Senor by Aymen Khoja on December 9.
Starring Yasir Alsaggaf and Bayoumi Fouad, the comedy is one of 10 films backed by Muvi’s production arm Muvi Studios that the exhibitor will release over the next 12 months.
Among them is Red Sea competition film Mandoob, co-production with Telfaz 11 that releases on December 14. Egyptian comedy Esabat Azeema, a co-production with Al Arabia Cinema that stars Esaad Younes, will release on January 4.
Muvi is aiming to back 24 films a year by 2025. The production push follows the box office success this year of its first two films, Saudi comedy Sattar and Egyptian comedy Two For Rent.
Muvi Cinemas CEO Adon Quinn said the two films comprised 18% of the exhibitor’s total box office in the first half of 2023.
Muvi Cinemas has 205 screens in Saudi, about 31% of the country’s total, in 21 locations.
“The growth of the box office in Saudi is going to be driven by local content,” said Quinn.
Muvi Studios’ focus is on commercial films, predominantly comedies, from Saudi and Egypt. It will fully finance the majority of films on the slate, with an average budget of $2m.
Muvi Studios recently brought in Fouad Alkhateeb as head of production; the company works with external producers to make the films.
Quinn noted that 34% of the box office in Saudi so far this year came from Arabic content, mainly Egypt and Saudi – despite films from the region only accounting for 13% of releases.
“I benchmark here with South Korea where over 50% of the box office is from local productions. I think this is the way Saudi is going to go.”