Comedy-drama about religious tension posts biggest box office ever for an Arabic-language film.
Nadine Labaki’s Foreign Language Oscar hopeful Where Do We Go Now? is blazing a trail in Lebanon after posting a 30% increase in admissions in its second week. The film now stands as the most successful Arabic-language film ever in the territory.
Where Do We Go Now? fought off stiff competition from new releases The Three Musketeers 3D, Killer Elite and The Change Up to record 27,807 admissions from only eight screens in its second week for 64,200 cumulative and second week box office of $198,820 for a cumulative of $459,231.
The film’s second weekend performance ranks as the country’s fifth-best ever, ahead of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.
The comedy-drama, which played in Un Certain Regard in Cannes this year, charts the story of a group of Lebanese women who try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.
There has been a growing number of successful socio-politically themed films coming out of the Middle East in the past year, but Where Do We Go Now? is the first to see big commercial returns. The combination of comedy, a recognized star in Labaki and high production values all contributing to the success.
In Lebanon the film is a joint release by Empire, Front Row Filmed Entertainment and KNCC.
Gianluca Chacra, MD, of Front Row Filmed Entertainment, said that the film’s underlying socio-polical message struck a chord with the Lebanese public at a particularly volatile time in the region:
“The message the film delivers is key. Lebanon has been going through a lot, especially between Muslims and Christians and I think this film unites everybody. We were counting on the effects of the Arab Spring to send people to this film, not only Lebanese but also expats. We think it will be as big as Avatar and Titanic in the country.”
The film has taken $1.3m in two weeks since opening in France and opens in UAE, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Oman on November 10.
SPC recently picked up US rights.