(MENAFN- Arab Times) 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 US 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 dollars."
"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 fourteen 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 $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 US and the UK, pulled $9.3 million in the region in 2012. It was released in the United Arab Emirates by Gulf Film and by other distributors in other Middle East territories.
Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese said Monday his decision to shoot the historic-drama "Silence" was inspired by his religious childhood, despite the Hollywood heavyweight not typically being known for spiritual outpourings. Lauded for his direction of often violent box office hits such as "Gangs of New York" and "The Departed", Scorsese said at a press conference in Taipei that his Christian beliefs and faith had helped him face the world. "The subject matter presented by Shusaku Endo was in my life since I was very very young. I was very much involved in religion, I was raised in a strong Catholic family," he said during a press conference that wrapped up the shooting of the film in Taiwan.
"Further reflection is how (we) want to lead our life in the Christian faith" so ultimately this book drew my attention when it was given to me in 1988." The film is based on a novel by Shusaku Endo and tells the story of Portuguese Jesuits in the 17th Century who suffered persecution while working in isolated parts of Japan. It stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver and will be released in cinemas in 2016. Scorsese and his team also expressed their gratitude to the government and the crew in Taiwan for their support while shooting the film, which took them to Hualien in the east, western Taichung among other parts of the island.
"Seems like a dream, I don't know how long I have been in Taipei, five or six months, it's a beautiful place, extraordinary." The shooting of "Silence" made headlines in January when an accident on set killed one worker and injured three others. Filming was temporarily interrupted after a ceiling collapsed on the Taiwanese construction workers who were reinforcing an old house made of brick and wood at the Chinese Culture and Movie Center Central Pictures during pre-production.
In what will be seen by many as a 2015 Cannes Festival's keynote speech, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos will talk at next week's 68th Cannes Festival about how new distribution models impact the financing and production of films.
Part of Cannes Film Market's NEXT program, its new future of cinema forum, Sarandos' In Conversation event - an onstage interview - will take place Friday May 15. Cannes Fest chief Thierry Fremaux will introduce Sarandos.
The Netflix CCO's focus - on film, not TV - is significant; Sarandos' presence at the Cannes Festival - his first ever - could hardly come, moreover, at a more crucial time for Europe's national film industries.
Sarandos is a regular TV event speaker, delivering a keynote at Cannes' Mipcom trade fair last October, addressing journalists at the TV Critics Assn in January. At NATPE, the Miami TV confab, also in Jan, Sarandos said that Netflix aimed to launch "about 20" original scripted series per year to appeal to "really diverse tastes around the world."
In film, Sarandos has fought an ongoing verbal war with US theater owners over their refusal to contract release windows or play ball on day-and-dating with Netflix. The US subscription VOD giant has inked a pact with Adam Sandler to star in and produce four exclusive Netflix movies, and pacted with The Weinstein Co. to day-and-date a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" sequel the same day on the streaming video service as Imax theaters.
Netflix has had a decisive impact on the future of the film industry, as the world's biggest subscription-based VOD service. Over 62 million members in over 50 countries enjoying more than 100 million hours of TV shows and movies per day.
Yet, as Netflix already operates in 13 territories in Europe, plans new launches there for this year, such as in Spain, and says it aims to expand to 200 countries in the next two years, Sarandos has yet to go into much detail about Netflix's plans for international film financing and production.
These could be key. Sarandos' Cannes Market Q & A will come just nine days after the European Commission unveils proposals on May 6 for a single digital market. These look set to include plans to abolish geo-blocking, where online movies/TV shows legally bought for one territory are prevented from being viewed in another. Passionately opposed by both Europe's film and TV industries and the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA), opposition to the move looks like becoming the cause celebre of this year's Cannes Festival. Netflix is seen, maybe wrongly, as one of its only industry beneficiaries.
Sarandos' In Conversation looks set to be a large highlight at the Cannes Film Market's NEXT program, the Cannes Film Market's - and Cannes Festival's - new digital cinema forum and their first-ever extended networking, think-tank and training initiative that launched 2014. Running May 13-22, NEXT will be dramatically expanded for its second edition, including in its number of panels.
Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.