Feature film Shabab Sheyab will premiere in Saudi Arabia today (Thursday), becoming the first GCC film to play in cinemas following the opening of movie theatres in the kingdom this year.
Image Nation Abu Dhabi released the film in Riyadh, with the full trailer available now. The star-studded UAE premiere will take place at Atlantis, The Palm on November 17, with the full cinema release in the Emirates on November 22.
Directed and written by Yasir Al-Yasiri, the family-friendly movie follows four elderly friends (featuring prominent GCC actors Saad Al Faraj, Marei Al Halian and Mansoor Al Feeli, alongside Syrian star Salloum Haddad) living in a senior citizens' home. When one of them inherits a large fortune, the friends escape for a life-changing adventure in Dubai, encouraged by their doctor and nurse, played by Kuwaiti stars Laila Abdullah and Fouad Ali.
"Shabab Sheyab tells a story of family, friendship and self-discovery that is universally relatable but will particularly appeal to GCC audiences – so it's very exciting that it will be the first regional film released in Saudi Arabia," Al-Yasiri said. "Arabic-language entertainment best reflects the region's way of life. With an incredible cast and crew from across the Arab world, including the UAE, Kuwait and Syria, regional voices and stories have been at the heart of this project from start to finish."
Saudi Arabia is set to open almost 350 cinemas with 2,500 screens by 2030, serving an audience of 32 million consumers. The entertainment industry is expected to contribute US$24 billion (Dh88.16bn) to the local economy and create 30,000 permanent jobs.
Shabab Sheyab had its premiere at the prestigious Palm Springs International Film Festival in January to positive reviews.