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26 February 2024

2012 now UAE's biggest film

Cinema-goers have been attracted by the disaster scenes in 2012. (AFP)

By Keith J Fernandez

Threats to the planet are good news – for the entertainment industry, at least, with two epics battling for box-office domination in the UAE.

The action-packed epic disaster 2012 has officially become the top-grossing movie in the Emirates, say distributors.

Director Rol and Emmerich's movie has vaulted to the top of all-time box-office lists, overtaking Titanic, The Dark Knight and Spiderman 3 with gross box-office revenues of approximately Dh13.3 million, according to distributors Empire International Gulf.

"We find that audiences in the Gulf appreciate action adventure movies and I think that 2012 offered something unique in terms of both incredible action and special effects," said Mario Junior Haddad, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing at Empire International Gulf.

The John Cusack film, which centres on an apocalyptic event coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, made it into record books in the first week itself, with 167,000 UAE cinema admissions, a figure that stood at 419,752 as of last Wednesday, the most recent weekly closing.

The movie has enjoyed similar success worldwide with international box-office revenues $531m (Dh1.9 billion) to date, besides smashing all-time records around the region, in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Syria and Lebanon.

But its record is set to be crumble quite like one of the many buildings in the film – international box-office behemoth Avatar is close on its heels.

James Cameron's sci-fi phenom has taken $1.14bn in global box-office receipts and is heading straight for the top of the UAE's all-time charts.

Avatar is also distributed by Empire, and saw 340,000 cinema admissions up until the end of last week, said Linda Picard, Empire's Middle East Marketing Manager. "We're quite happy to have two of the biggest films of the season," she told Emirates Business. "Avatar is going to exceed box-office receipts for 2012 in about two weeks' time."

Avatar debuted in cinemas in mid-December and given its success in theaters and with critics and industry players, some Hollywood watchers think the movie is now the one to beat for the best picture Oscar.

Picard said the distributor is looking ahead to a season of big-banner releases, including the Shah Rukh Khan starrer My Name is Khan, the first Bollywood film to be distributed by Sony, set to hit cinemas in February; as well as the romcom Did You Hear About The Morgans, with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker.

And Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, is set for a summer release.

Empire International is a sister company of the Empire Group, located in Lebanon, that owns and manages the Empire circuit of theatres and distributes exclusively Sony Pictures (Columbia) releases and Twentieth Century Fox across the Middle East.


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