A galaxy far, far away descended upon Dubai last night as Star Wars: The Last Jedi closed this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Star Wars fans turned out in full force – with many bringing their Star Wars heroes to life in a cosplay extravaganza – packing-out the Madinat Jumeirah, the home of DIFF.
Chafic Najia, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Ltd, took to the stage to briefly address the crowd before the movie began – after being introduced by Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF Artistic Director- and spoke of the universality and success of the Star Wars franchise:
“Star Wars is not an American, European or Arab story, and nor should it be. It transcends nations, regions and cultures in the way brilliant story-telling always does. It is a universal story that, as well all know, is set in a galaxy far, far away – and yet, it explores themes that we can all connect to: family, adventure, duty, justice, female empowerment, as well as the duality and co-existence of goodness and evil in the world. That universality is just one of the reasons Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released this time two years ago, became the world’s third highest grossing movie of all time. These Star Wars stories which help us feel like children again are quite simply priceless – they have made fans the world over want to surround themselves with memorabilia, toys, and costumes to help us set free our imaginations and inspirations. Film truly finds us all.”
Written and Directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set directly after the events of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and witnesses the return of Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, as “the last Jedi”. Rey joins forces with Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn, and Poe that unlocks more mysteries about the force and secrets of the past. Starring Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Carrie Fisher as Leia, and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, the star-studded cast breathes new life into the latest epic struggle between the light side and the dark side of the force.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now showing in cinemas across the UAE.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is Releasing in the Region This Eid
‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is coming to cinemas across the region on April 20th.
As part of the movie’s marketing activities, you can witness the first-ever 3D takeover of Dubai’s iconic tower, to see the movie trailer come to life. The trailer goes live on the Burj Khalifa on the 13th of April at 7:30 pm.
From Nintendo and Illumination, the film is produced by Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario.
The film is co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo and released worldwide by Universal Pictures. Catch ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ this Eid, in cinemas regionally from 20th April.
James Bond Film No Time to Die Delayed to Reshoot Nokia Product Placements
Back in 2020, a Nokia executive teased a partnership between the company and the latest James Bond film to show off the latest Nokia smartphone of its time, which was 2019. The 007 film No Time to Die was originally set to be released in theaters in April of 2019 until the departure of the film’s original director and co-writer Danny Boyle caused delays, further pushed back after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The film was set to be released in April of 2021 until a more recent delay was announced. A report from The Sun cited industry insiders who were aware of at least some of the reasoning for the film’s latest delay. It’s reported that the brand deals struck up by brands for the film, which was partly filmed in 2019 going into 2020, would feature tech and products that would be far outdated by the time it was to be released in 2021.
Nokia’s 8.3 5G smartphone was to be featured in the film, but this item’s placement, along with others from Adidas footwear, Bollinger champagne, and Omega watches would all have outdated products featured in the film. The Nokia 8.3 went on sale in October of 2020, which is already too outdated, even for James Bond.
Cinépolis Cinemas Inaugurates its First Cinema in UAE at Sharjah Oasis Mall
Ashish Shukla, the CEO of Cinépolis Gulf, speaks to Gadget Voize about the company’s entrance into the UAE and its plans for the region
Tell us about the Cinépolis brand. How many cinemas does it operate in the region?
Cinépolis was founded in Morelia, Mexico in 1971, and today is the largest cinema chain in Latin America and the third-largest worldwide. Having crossed a mind-blowing total capacity of 1.1 seats across all locations, the brand continues to grow and gain popularity among its loyal guests.
After its debut in Gulf in February 2019, the brand has successfully launched a total 5 cinemas in slightly over a year and currently operates in Bahrain, Oman, UAE and will be venturing into Saudi Arabia with two separate locations expected to open before the end of the year.
Which markets are you currently present in?
Globally, we are present in 18 countries, including Latin America, USA, Spain, India, Indonesia, and Gulf (being the latest region in the Cinépolis brand portfolio). For Gulf in specific, we are present in Bahrain, UAE, Oman, and soon in KSA.
Tell us about your new cinema at the Sharjah Oasis Mall. What is the seating capacity? How many screens?
Cinépolis Cinemas in Sharjah Oasis Mall is our first cinema in the United Arab Emirates. The cinema has 10 screens with a total capacity of 1194 seats. The cinema includes Junior – our revolutionary, internationally acclaimed, and highly admired family-oriented auditorium, which features a colourful jungle gym, complete with slide and ball pit, as well as fun bean-bag seating. In short, the auditorium has been designed to allow families to enjoy their favourite movies in a welcoming and fun space that expertly caters to their needs.
Cinépolis Cinemas in Sharjah Oasis Mall also includes our Macro auditorium, completed with Dolby Atmos surround sound that creates a powerful audio experience thanks to the high-tech combination of the latest generation of audio speakers located throughout each of the venue’s premium auditoriums. The Deluxe or Premium seat options all enjoy an uninterrupted view of the screen with rocking leather chairs available. The screen is triple the size of an ordinary cinema screen and makes you feel like you are part of the movie.
Guests of Cinépolis Cinemas at Oasis Mall, Sharjah, will be able to enjoy a range of premium and delicious movie treats, including buttered popcorn, nachos and hotdogs from the concessions counter. Or, they can opt for a full menu of gourmet snacks from the speciality coffee shop ‘Coffee Tree’. Fan favourites include the ever-so-popular dynamite shrimp, edamame, chicken popcorn, samosas and crêpes.
What sort of precautions are you following during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The safety of our guests, staff members and vendors remain the foremost priority for Cinépolis Cinemas and we have taken a number of measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable movie-going experience which include:
- Temperature screening at the entrance
- Limited auditorium capacity
- Social distance inside theaters and at common areas
- Adoption of contactless technologies for access and payment
- Regular screening and check-ups of all staff and vendors
- Frequent disinfection of all surfaces, counters ad common areas
- Sanitizing auditoriums and seats after every viewing
- Use of disposable F&B utensils
- Trained health and safety ambassadors are available to assist you
The Junior auditorium with slides to enter and a play area is quite unique in the region. What made you opt for such an auditorium for kids?
The region acts as a haven for families with toddlers and children. In fact, no matter the destination, you will notice large families enjoying time together. For this reason, we’ve decided to introduce our Junior auditorium, it is revolutionary for the region and caters to the needs of young families with children to enjoy the big screen together.
We also wanted to bring a product that makes the movie-going experience fun and guilt-free for parents. We’ve noticed that parents face slight difficulties when bringing their children to the cinemas as it can be difficult to expect a child to sit straight for a pre-determined duration of time.
We also noticed that parents tend to leave the movie in the middle of the screening to accompany their children. Because of these reasons, we’ve developed a specialized program for the Junior auditorium that provides play time before the movie begins, and even a 20-minute intermission in the middle of the movie.
What sort of expansion plans in the region do you have for the upcoming months?
As previously mentioned, Cinépolis Cinemas has ambitious plans for global and regional expansion. Our focus and direction for the region are currently KSA, where we see massive demand and with a market hungry for new entertainment options. We plan to open our first two locations in Saudi Arabia in Dammam and Jeddah by the end of 2020. We plan to open 100+ screens in the next two years in the Kingdom.
What sort of challenges are cinema operators facing during the pandemic?
2020 was an arduous year for many industries and the cinema industry is not an exception. Apart from the obvious, there is the challenge of the rise in popularity of streaming services, as well as delayed-release dates of blockbuster content, both of which impact our revenues. We are starting to see customers gaining confidence in the health and safety measures we and the industry as a whole are taking.
We at Cinépolis Cinemas doing everything in our power to keep our business and workforce engaged. We believe in a strong team, and the impact that has on keeping operations moving. We are extremely optimistic about the future given the line-up of movies set to be released. 2021 the content line up is strong and major change will be seen with the vaccine distribution when people will gain the confidence for out of home entertainment.
The industry is going through a churn and we are at its latter half. Cinepolis will come back better and stronger for our movie buff audiences.
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