Since its release on November 25, Al Kameen has smashed UAE box office records, marking a big moment not only for Emirati cinema, but for Arab films as a whole.
The Emirati war drama has had more than 170,000 cinema admissions since its release in cinemas, according to Vox Distribution, making it the most successful Emirati and Arabic-language movie in the UAE.
Moreover, it has become one of the top-five grossing films of this year, a week after its release, behind Fast & Furious 9, Venom 2, No Time to Die and Godzilla Vs Kong, Vox Distribution said.
The movie, which translates as "The Ambush", is based on the true story of a daring mission by a group of Emirati soldiers who set off to rescue their compatriots trapped by rebel fighters in a mountainous valley.
Directed by Pierre Morel, the man behind 2008 movie Taken, Al Kameen is a co-production between AGC International and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. It was filmed entirely in the UAE, and features more than 400 cast and crew members – making it the largest Arabic-language feature film production in the GCC.
The movie’s world premiere at Vox Cinemas Yas Mall on November 22 was attended by Morel, producers Derek Dauchy (Victor Frankenstein) and Jennifer Roth (Black Swan), and the cast, alongside the real Emirati soldiers whose true story inspired the film.
“The feedback we have received from audiences across the UAE has been overwhelming and I am so proud to have been a part of this fantastic project. I hope audiences continue to resonate with this inspirational story of brotherhood,” said Morel.
Ignace Lahoud, chief executive officer, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment & Cinemas, said the success of the film reiterates the growing popularity of home-grown productions.
“We are committed to championing local talent and providing the necessary platform to ensure that premium Arabic content is made accessible to audiences,” he says.
Al Kameen stars an all-Emirati lead cast, including Marwan Abdulla Saleh, Khalifa Al Jassem, Mohammed Ahmed, Abdullah Saeed Bin Haider, Saeed AlHarsh and Hassan Yousuf Alblooshi.
The script was written by Brandon Birtell (Fast & Furious 7) and Kurtis Birtell (Medal of Honour) in close consultation with the soldiers involved in the real-life 2018 incident that inspired the plot. 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.
“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,” said Kazim, manager of local film and television at Image Nation Abu Dhabi and executive in charge of production on Al Kameen.
“This achievement is further proof that world-class content is being produced in the emirate. The success is a landmark moment for Emirati cinema and we hope this also provides further opportunities for our well-proven local talent."
Al Kameen is in cinemas across the UAE