Saudi wrestling comedy “Sattar” is scoring record-breaking results at the domestic box office with the satirical action drawing more than 159,000 admissions and grossing $2.2 million since its Dec. 29 release.
The film became the highest-grossing local title since Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on operating commercial movie theaters in December 2017.
Directed by Kuwaiti Abdullah Al Arak, “Sattar”, which opened positively at Jeddah’s Red Sea Film Festival in early December, has now quickly bested the 151,000 admissions for the local title, “Born a King”, by Saudi Arabia’s previous record holder. ,” through its entire run. Released in 2020, “Born a King” is an inspirational biopic of Saudi King Faisal, set against the backdrop of the prince’s diplomatic mission to London in 1919 at the age of 13 to plead for non-intervention in Arabia.
In contrast, “Sattar” stars Saudi actor and stand-up comedian Ibrahim Al Hajjaj (“Rashash”) as Saad, a man whose personal and professional life prompts him to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a freestyle wrestler. . The dream turned into a nightmare when a clip of him being beaten during an audition was leaked.
The family comedy currently resonating with local audiences is produced by Saudi Arabian production company Tefaz 11 in association with the movie studio through its new production arm, Alshimaisy Films.
Front Row Arabia, a joint venture between prominent MENA distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment and leading Saudi exhibitor Movie Cinemas, is handling its theatrical distribution.
According to Front Row, Arabic films account for 31% of Saudi’s 2022 $250 million box office revenue, but Saudi titles still represent a small percentage of those releases.
“Until now, Saudi cinemas have struggled to attract audiences,” Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra said in a statement. “Sattar has broken the mold thanks to the fact that it reflects the true culture of Saudi Arabia, which Alshimaisy Films, Telfaz 11 and the movie clearly understand,” he added.
“We are delighted to see the historic results that Sattar has achieved,” said Ibrahim Alkhairallah, head of Al-Shimaisi Films. There’s a huge appetite for stories.”
After its release in Saudi, “Sattar” will hit theaters across UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Iraq.