×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gulf Asia Launches With Mission for Philippines Movies in Middle East

Movies from the Philippines are set to reach a wider audience in the Middle East following the launch of new distributor Gulf Asia Entertainment. The company aims to give theatrical releases to up to a dozen Filipino titles per year through an arrangement with Front Row Filmed Entertainment.

First out is “Never Not Love You, which will be released on 19 April. Starring Nadine Lustre and James Reid, the romantic drama released last week in The Philippines and enjoyed a $500,000 opening weekend. In May, Gulf Asia will release another romance “Sid & Aya,” starring Anne Curtis and Ding Dong Dantes.

Gulf Asia is a joint effort of a quintet of film industry veterans. They include former EVP of 20th Century Fox in the Asia-Pacific Sunder Kimatrai, and Anish Wadhwa, CEO of Home Screen Entertainment, a U.A.E.-based company releasing Indian films in the Middle East. Also involved are Sharavan Shroff, former head of Indian multiplex group Fame, Gianluca Chakra, CEO of Front Row, and CEO of The Philippines Viva Entertainment, Vincente Del Rosario Jr.

The launch of the company is intended to make use to two phenomena: the recent legalization and opening up of the theatrical cinema industry in Saudi Arabia; and the large Filipino population of migrant workers in the Middle East. These are estimated to number 1.2 million in Saudi Arabia, and 800,000 in the U.A.E. Similar initiatives are operating in Internationally catering to the Indian diaspora, and in North America for the overseas Chinese population.

“The Filipino community is the 3rd largest community in the UAE, but unlike the audience for Indian films, Filipinos residing in the (Gulf) are massive spenders and intensely socially active who regularly attend Filipino events and the occasional film that is released. Our aim is to tap into this market and expand by releasing Pinoy films on a day-and-date basis with the Philippines across major cinemas in the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as on VOD and on digital and soon enough, bring in live events and concerts” said Del Rosario Jr. in a statement.

“The UAE market and Saudi Arabi aren’t the only markets we are eyeing. There are another 500,000 across Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. There is a real market waiting to be developed. And with the Middle East and North Africa expansion and the introduction of cinemas in Saudi, we see this becoming a real opportunity,” said Kimatrai.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Aaron Janus Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Hires 'A Quiet Place' Producer Aaron Janus as Senior VP of Production

    Lionsgate has hired Aaron Janus as its new senior vice president of production and promoted Meredith Wieck to the post of vice president of production.  Prior to Lionsgate, Janus served as Platinum Dunes’ head of development, where he oversaw filmmakers Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and Michael Bane. There, he brought in “A Quiet Place,” on [...]

  • Ang Lee Reveals First Look at

    Ang Lee on 'Gemini Man' and De-Aging Will Smith

    On paper, Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is a standard-issue, shoot ’em up with Will Smith playing a deadly assassin who must battle a younger clone of himself. The explosions and gun battles aren’t what drew Lee to the project, even if they’re the reason that most people will show up at theaters when it opens [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Sean Clarke Aardman Staff Photography Bristol.Pic

    Aardman Appoints Sean Clarke as New Managing Director

    Aardman, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind “Chicken Run” and “Early Man,” has appointed Sean Clarke as its new managing director, replacing co-founder David Sproxton, who is stepping down after 43 years. Clarke has worked at the British studio for more than 20 years, including heading the international rights and marketing department for over a decade. [...]

  • The Antenna

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Antenna'

    Jump scares, creepy noises and the tease of hidden-from-view dangers are all fine. But a truly frightening horror film unsettles with more than its crafts, but instead through the vulnerability of defenseless people stuck with bad options only. First-time writer-director Orçun Behram’s highly stylized and mildly disturbing “The Antenna,” a metaphor on Turkey’s current ruling [...]

  • Ad Astra Box Office

    Box Office Battle: 'Ad Astra' Takes on 'Rambo: Last Blood' and 'Downton Abbey'

    “Hustlers” and “Good Boys” proved that even in the age of Marvel dominance and remake mania, movies that don’t exist within an established franchise can still be box office draws. Can “Ad Astra” continue that trend? The space drama — starring Brad Pitt and directed by James Gray — arrives on the big screen this [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks

    Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks Silence After D.A. Dropped Charge

    Lucia Evans gave a wrenching account on Tuesday of her efforts to hold Harvey Weinstein responsible for sexual assault, saying she felt betrayed after the Manhattan D.A.’s office dropped her allegations last year. Evans spoke to Variety after giving a speech at a conference on influencer fraud in Manhattan, making her first public comments on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content