Saudi Arabian Comedy ‘Sattar’ Continues Record-Breaking Home Box Office Run; Sets Precedent For Future Local Films

Saudi Arabian family comedy Sattar, set against the world of freestyle wrestling, has continued its record-breaking run at home to become one of the country’s top five highest-grossing local movies ever.

Since its release on December 29, the film has sold 723,000 tickets for a box office gross of $9.2M to date.

Distributor Front Row Arabia said that the film now sits in the fifth slot in Saudi Arabia’s historic box office charts after Top Gun: Maverick ($22.6M), Spider-Man: No Way Home ($17.4M) and two Egyptian films, Bahebek ($15.7M) and Waafet Regala ($15.6M).

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The success comes just five years after the lifting of Saudi Arabia’s 35-year cinema ban at the end of 2017, and bodes well for the country’s burgeoning local filmmaking scene.

Kuwaiti filmmaker Abdullah Al Arak directs a cast led by stars popular Saudi actor and stand-up comedian Ibrahim Al Hajjaj, best known for the hit action series Rashash and Netflix’s Six Windows in the Desert.

Al Hajjaj plays a depressed man failing at both his professional and personal life who decides to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a freestyle wrestler.

His dream comes to fruition after a famous wrestling business manager (Abdulaziz Al Shehri) and a Pakistani coach (Ibrahim Al Khairallah), take the hapless young man under their wing, but not without knocks along the way.

The movie, which had its world premiere at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah in December, is produced by AlShimaisi Films, Telfaz11’s new production arm, and Muvi Studios.

Front Row Arabia, a joint venture between prominent MENA distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment and leading Saudi Exhibitor Muvi Cinemas, is handling all theatrical distribution.

Faisal Baltyuor, CEO of Muvi Studios, said Sattar was “making history” and paving the way for other local productions to achieve success at home.

“We are very proud of what Sattar is doing right now, and we are sure we can exceed these achievements in the near future,’ he said.

Gianluca Chakra, Front Row’s pioneering CEO, said the results were ‘eye-popping”

“In a little over two months, the film ate up a share of 32% of the Saudi Box Office,” he said. “These are eye-popping results and a testament of how strong the Saudi market can be for local language films but most of all proving that, if a Saudi film is done right, it could very much compete with Egyptian cinema not to mention the tentpoles of any major studio.”

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