The first release will be an animated film titled 'Thinking About You' in October 2022.
Empire Entertainment, the exclusive theatrical distributor for Sony Pictures Releasing International and Star Studios in the Middle East, has partnered with BG Film, a Turkish film production and distribution company, to distribute and produce Turkish content and bring Turkish movies across cinemas in the MENA region.
They will also set up a joint venture based out of Istanbul specialising in entertainment for the Turkish market.
With a slate of eight movies per year ranging from high-production blockbusters to educational animations, the partnership allows cinemagoers to experience Turkish titles on the big screen. The first release is set for October 2022 starting with an animated film Thinking About You (T.A.Y.). This will then be followed by Bandirma Füze Kulubü, Barış Akarsu ‘Merhaba’, Burçlar, Çakallarla Dans 6, Demir Kadın Neslican, Kim Bu Aile? (Who’s This Family?), Rafadan Tayfa 3 and Yerk Eksi İki.
Empire CEO Mario Jr. Haddad believes Turkish movies could become a major part of the region’s theatrical successes. “We always go the extra mile and this partnership demonstrates our commitment to expanding and elevating the overall entertainment offerings available for a very diverse and switched-on set of MENA audiences.”
Additionally, BG Film believes partnering up with Empire Entertainment is the right step towards opening doors of opportunities for exponential growth in the Turkish cinema industry. Benhur Guzeler, Founder of BG Film, added: “Multiple researchers have confirmed that the Arab world remains the biggest market for Turkish movies and series. We believe this step addresses an undeniable growing demand for Turkish content that at BG Film, we are more than ready and able to serve. This is only the beginning of our long-term and multi-faceted venture with Empire and we are beyond excited to discover more fruitful avenues to move forward together.”
Empire has been distributing movies for over 100 years, representing big studios as well as smaller independent movies and recently co-producing Netflix’s Arabic film Perfect Strangers. Some of the recent and upcoming movies on their portfolio include Bullet Train, Spiderman: No Way Home Extended Cut, Brahmāstra: Part 1 – Shiva, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.
Serge Zabbal, Business Director at Empire, stated: “We understand that quality comes with diversity and we believe that there is no better time than now for us to expand our portfolio.”
Pascal Rahme, Sales & Distribution Director at Empire, commented: “The movie industry in the MENA region with the addition of Saudi Arabia has been as vibrant as ever. While we know there is a captured market of Arabic-speaking audiences for Turkish films, we recognize that there is a golden chance for us to introduce the film to a broader expat audience.”
Mert Baydur, Vice President of Acquisition and Business Development at BG Film, noted: “This ability to showcase to a completely new territory reinvigorates our local key players and challenges them to think bigger, grow faster and aim higher to continue to cater to the taste of a more international audience.”
Empire Entertainment and BG Film are optimistic that this strong partnership will lead to the evolution of movie distribution in the MENA region.