EXCLUSIVE: Pierre Morel-directed action movie Al Kameen (The Ambush) has logged the biggest opening weekend ever for any Emirati or Arabic-language film in the UAE.
The movie, which is a co-production between AGC International and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, scored 170,000 cinema admissions between November 25 and November 29, making it the fifth largest opening this year in the UAE, behind only Fast 9, Venom 2, No Time to Die and Godzilla vs Kong. It has logged another 22,000 admissions since then.
VOX Distribution is releasing the movie, which stars an all-Emirati lead cast and was filmed in the UAE.
One of the largest ever Arabic-language features shot in the GCC, the movie had its world premiere at VOX Cinemas Yas Mall, which was attended by director Morel (Taken), producers Derek Dauchy (Roman J Israel, Esq.) and Jennifer Roth (Black Swan), and the cast, alongside the real Emirati soldiers whose story the film is based on.
Inspired by an incident that took place during the conflict with Yemen, the patriotic film is about the rescue mission of a small group of Emirati soldiers trapped in a mountainous valley.
Pic is currently on release on 185 screens in the Emirates. You can check out the film’s first teaser trailer here.
Cast comprises Marwan Abdulla Saleh, Khalifa Al Jassem, Mohammed Ahmed, Abdullah Saeed Bin Haider, Saeed AlHarsh, Hassan Yousuf Alblooshi, Khalifa AlBahri, Ghanim Nasser, Mansoor Alfeeli, Hussein Saeed Salem, Abdullah Alrashidi, Talal Al Bloushi, Omar Bin Haider, Ibrahim Musharaakh, Abdulla Al Maqbali, Salem Altamimi, Mohammed Faisal Mostafa, Maitha Mohammed, Yaqoob Thabit, Salim Musabah Khamis Alnaimi, Saoud Al Kaabi and Mahira Abdelaziz.
Pic was written by Brandon Birtell (Furious 7) and Kurtis Birtell (Medal of Honour). Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s production included a team of Emirati filmmakers and development executives including Hana Kazim, Talal Al Asmani, Alwiya Thani and Alia AlQemzi.
Ignace Lahoud, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment & Cinema, said: “VOX Distribution is immensely proud of the record-breaking success that Al Kameen is enjoying in the UAE, which reiterates the growing popularity of homegrown productions and also demonstrates that audiences want the immersive and unrivalled entertainment experience that cinema provides. We are committed to championing local talent and providing the necessary platform to ensure that premium Arabic content is made accessible to audiences. We look forward to more successful collaborations with our partners Image Nation Abu Dhabi.”
Director Morel commented: “The feedback we have received from audiences across the UAE has been overwhelming and I am so proud to have been apart of this fantastic project. I hope audiences continue to resonate with this inspirational story of brotherhood.”
Hana Kazim, manager of local film and television at Image Nation Abu Dhabi and the executive in charge of production on Al Kameen, added: “Alongside the incredibly compelling story, the success that Al Kameen has seen in just a few days is thanks in no small part to the incredibly talented crew based in Abu Dhabi. This achievement is further proof that world-class content is being produced in the Emirate. The success of the film is a landmark moment for Emirati cinema and we hope this also provides further opportunities for our well-proven local talent.”