Abu Dhabi, November 2013: Abu Dhabi-based Image Nation today announced that the opening weekend box office takings for its supernatural film, Djinn, broke the one million dirham barrier.
The movie, about an Emirati couple who move into a haunted apartment block in Ras Al Khaimah, has wowed audiences through a combination of edge-of-your seat suspense and special effects.
Launched on Halloween night on Thursday, audiences built quickly over the weekend as word spread across the UAE, where it is being shown in almost all cinemas.
“The biggest success for Image Nation is that audiences of all nationalities are going to see Djinn – especially as the majority of dialogue is in Arabic. It really has crossed the boundaries between the different communities we see here in the UAE,” said Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation. “The number of people going to the cinema to watch our film has in some ways taken us by surprise as these statistics are pretty rare in UAE cinema.”
“We want to thank everyone who has gone out to see Djinn as it is a big step forward for film making in the country.”
Djinn, directed by “master of horror” Tobe Hooper, was exclusively distributed in the Middle East by Empire International.
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation said: “We are so pleased with our partnership with Empire – both for the distribution of Djinn and the previously-released Sea Shadow. We are overwhelmed by the results.”
In UAE the film was seen by 23,000 people in the first three days – increasing from 6,500 on opening night to 8,500 on day three.
“Since its release on October 31, Djinn has set the record for the best performing Emirati film ever in opening weekend,” said Kifah Ghraizi, regional manager at Empire International Gulf LLC.
“The increase in admissions per day shows the huge interest the film is gaining and how Djinn is appealing to all audiences in the UAE.
“We have no doubt that Djinn will continue on this path of success”
Contacted in his headquarter office in Beirut, Mario G. Haddad, CEO of Empire International, added: “After watching the premiere of Djinn at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last week, and hearing the positive reaction of most exhibitors in the theaters, I was convinced the picture was going to open big!
“The film is currently number two in the Gulf area, second only to Tom Hank’s Captain Phillips, a Sony production distributed by Empire as well.”
The Empire office in Dubai secured 22 screens in UAE alone and a further 20 more screens in the GCC region, making it the widest release an Emirati film has ever had.
“In my opinion,” Mario continued, “what helped the film most is the subject and title. We have based our work on the fact that this subject was approached for the very first time in a local movie, but what also helped is the language used in this film, that reflects exactly what you hear in the Gulf territories – a mixture of Arabic and English – adding credibility to the general atmosphere of this production.”
Feedback from Djinn audiences across the weekend revealed exactly why it is doing so well.
Scott Rowell, a 24-year-old Scottish expat living in Abu Dhabi was one of the first in line to see the film on October 31.
Scott said: “Horror films have always been a favourite of mine, so when I heard the UAE had released its very own, directed by the great Tobe Hooper, I knew I had to see it.
“It exceeded my expectations – and I jumped out of my seat a few times.”
Emirati Aiysha Al Junaiba, 26, added: “It was definitely worth the wait to see this film as I waited a long time to see it. It gets a nine-and-a-half out of ten from me.”