Egyptian comedy “Beit El Ruby,” about social media’s disruptive impact on the life of a quirky family, has scored a strong opening weekend in Saudi Arabia, ousting “The Flash,” in its second frame, from the top spot.
The local farce led by Egyptian superstars Karim Abel Aziz and Kareem Mahmoud Abdel Aziz was released on June 22. It has scored roughly 73,000 admissions across Saudi Arabia, grossing more than $1.1 million in its first frame. “The Flash,” by contrast, garnered a combined total of 91,000 admissions in Saudi cinemas in its first two frames.
According to the film’s co-distributor Front Row Arabia, the “Beit El Ruby” bow marks the fifth highest opening for an Arabic film in Saudi, which is the Middle East’s top theatrical movie market.
In “Beit El Ruby,” a man named Ibrahim Al Ruby and his family suddenly decide to leave the bustling city where they live following the accidental leak on social media of a private family event. This leak wreaks havoc in their lives to the point where they abscond to a remote village, where they think they can lie low.
The Egyptian comedy is being distributed in Saudi Arabia by Front Row Arabia, the joint-venture between Dubai-based distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment and leading Saudi exhibition chain Muvi Cinemas.
“Beit El Ruby,” which was produced by Egypt’s Synergy Films in tandem with Conquer and Film Square, is proving to be a hit across the Middle East, where it has reached a total of roughly 255,000 admissions and more than $2.5 million in grosses since its June 22 outing. Orient Films is distributing the film outside Saudi.
The strong “Beit El Ruby” performance is not a major surprise in Saudi Arabia, where 32% of the growing box office haul – which in 2022 amounted to $250 million – was achieved by Arabic films, primarily Egyptian titles, despite the fact that these only accounted for 7% of total releases.
So far in 2023, three of the five top-grossing films of the year in Saudi Arabia are Arabic. The Saudi wrestling comedy “Sattar,” also distributed by Front Row Arabia and produced by local powerhouse Telfaz11, leads the pack with over 900,000 admissions.
“We are delighted to see how well ‘Beit El Ruby’ has performed,” said Front Row’s CEO Gianluca Chakra in a statement.
“Local content has made giant leaps in the market over the past couple of years with local titles routinely dominating the box office recently despite the fact that there are very few Arabic releases compared with Hollywood ones,” he added.
Commented Orient Films managing director Ramzi Khoury: “We are thrilled with the success of ‘Beit El Rouby’ in Saudi Arabia and across the region as a whole. The movie, centered around the effects of social media on the Rouby family, is resonating strongly with local audiences in the Middle East, due to its relatable theme and lovable characters.”
Khoury continued, “It is refreshing to see the social comedy genre garner so much attention in theaters and on social media, a sign that local audiences are thirsty for content that represents their values and lifestyle.”