Netflix sets Perfect Strangers as first Arabic original movie

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Netflix has boarded Nadine Labaki’s Perfect Strangers, a remake of the Italian film of the same name, as its first Arabic-language original film. The streaming service has also signed a first-look deal with the film’s lead producer, Dubai-based Front Row Filmed Entertainment. 

Produced by Front Row’s Yalla Yalla division with Egypt’s Film Clinic and Lebanon’s Empire Entertainment, the film stars Lebanese actress-director Nadine Labaki, Egyptian star Mona Zaki, Eyad Nassar, Georges Khabbaz, Adel Karam, Fouad Yammine and Diamand Abou Abboud. It is directed by Lebanese newcomer Wissam Smayra.

The story revolves around seven close friends who meet for dinner and play a game in which they place their cell phones on the table and agree to share every call, text and voice message as they arrive. 

The original Italian film, directed by Paolo Genovese and produced by Medusa Films, Leone Film Group and Lotus Productions, grossed more than $30m in Italy and has been remade in 18 territories, including China and South Korea. 

Netflix will stream the Arabic remake from January 20, 2022 in 190 countries. The streamer has previously been involved in Arabic-language series such as Jordanian young adult drama Jinn; supernatural horror series Paranormal, based on the Egyptian book series; and AlRawabi School For Girls, a Jordanian series that dropped in August 2021. 

Front Row, which is one of the region’s biggest distributors and is now expanding into production, is also producing an Arabic remake of French hit comedy Intouchables, which is targeting a theatrical release.