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Italian Hit ‘Perfect Strangers’ Set for Arabic Remake

Smash hit Italian concept movie “Perfect Strangers” is set to be adapted for the Arab world, following a flurry of remakes worldwide.

Dubai-based Middle East distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment and sister company Kuwait National cinema have acquired Arabic remake rights from Italy’s Medusa Film to director Paolo Genovese’s 2016 ensemble dramedy involving smartphones and personal secrets.

Front Row will co-produce the Arabic version with prominent Egyptian shingle Film Clinic, whose latest titles include Cannes competition entry “Yomeddine,” and with Lebanese distributor Empire International.

The deal was negotiated by Front Row’s Gianluca Chakra with sales agent Faruk Alatan for Medusa. Besides Chakra, Film Clinic chief Mohamed Hefzy, Kuwait National’s Hisham Alghanim, and Empire’s Mario Haddad Jr. are also attached to produce and finance.

Chakra told Variety that the plan is for the adaptation to be ready in 2019 and have pan-Arabic elements that can appeal to Egyptian and also Lebanese and Persian Gulf audiences who usually don’t share the same cinematic tastes.

Front Row and Kuwait National Cinema Company will distribute the film theatrically in the Gulf, Empire will handle Lebanon and other adjacent territories, and Film Clinic will distribute in Egypt. Front Row will handle all non-theatrical sales of the “Perfect Strangers” Arabic redo across the region.

Remakes of “Strangers” are currently in various stages in a dozen territories including France, Germany, Spain, Greece and South Korea. Last week the French adaptation, titled “Le Jeu,” opened strong at No. 2 behind Sony/Marvel’s “Venom.”

Variety critic Jay Weissberg in his review said the film plays on the “near-universal fear” people have of having the secrets in their smartphone discovered “via a party game in which dinner guests share all incoming messages” that “calls in a recipe for awkward revelations.”

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