About this deal
The first Hollywood project as a result of Film AlUla's efforts was the Russo Brothers’ Cherry, which stars Tom Holland as a PTSD-suffering Iraq veteran who turns to robbing banks to fund his and his wife’s opioid addiction. The shoot was the first time any non-documentary, or indeed any American film, had been permitted to film in the Holy City of Makkah. The Saudi sections of the film deal with Malcolm, played by Denzel Washington, performing his Hajj in 1964, although the scenes were almost filmed in a stand-in set in New Jersey.
In September 2022, Open Road Films acquired the film's U.S. distribution rights in an eight-figure deal.  In January 2023, it was announced that the film would be released in theaters on May 26, 2023.  Reception [ edit ] Box office [ edit ]Lodderhose, Diana (February 8, 2022). " Kandahar: Capstone's Christian Mercuri Talks Shooting Gerard Butler Actioner In Saudi Arabia, Plus Behind The Scenes Photos". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved April 14, 2022. Starring: Gerard Butler , Bahador Foladi , Navid Negahban , Elnaaz Norouzi , Rebecca Calder , Ali Fazal a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 25, 2023). "Open Road's Gerard Butler Pic 'Kandahar' Sets Memorial Day Weekend Release". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved January 25, 2023.
Saudi Arabia may have only recently started establishing itself as a media production hub, but it’s not a total stranger to international cinema. Director Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic of the influential civil rights activist Malcolm X was shot in the kingdom as long ago as 1992. Tom Harris is a freelance undercover operative working for the CIA to insert malware into an Iranian nuclear research facility. Tom's cover is a field technician for a Swiss communications contractor. His mission is successful, and the malware causes the facility to self destruct, preventing the Iranians from acquiring more nuclear bombs. a b Wiseman, Andreas (June 22, 2020). "Gerard Butler Re-Teams With 'Angel Has Fallen' Director Ric Roman Waugh For Thunder Road Action Pic 'Kandahar' — Cannes". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved March 3, 2022.The Ric Roman Waugh-directed feature joins other big theatrical titles over the four-day holiday like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Lionsgate’s Sebastian Maniscalco-Robert De Niro movie About My Father, and Sony’s action comedy The Machine.
Wiseman, Andreas (December 2, 2021). " 'Kandahar': Gerard Butler Action Pic Adds Nina Toussaint-White & Bahador Foladi". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved March 3, 2022. The film stars Moroccan actor Chems-Eddine Zinoune as Battuta and is narrated by Ben Kingsley. It follows Battuta from his native Morocco to Makkah, meeting Bedouins, bandits and fellow pilgrims on the way.The film is a truly international affair, and although the big names attached are British and American, Cello also features cast and crew from France, Italy, Canada and across the Middle East. It is funded by Saudi production company Rozam Media and comes from a novel and script by Saudi author Turki Al Alshikh, who is also the chairman of the kingdom's General Authority for Entertainment. The film shot for 39 days, 12 of them in Prague, doubling for Italy, and the remainder in Saudi Arabia, divided between AlUla and the capital.