MENA cinema distribution and entertainment partners Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Kuwait National Cinema Company have inked a deal with Medusa Film for the Arabic-language remake rights to 2016 box office hit Perfect Strangers (aka Perfetti Sconosciuti). The Arabic version will be a Lebanese/Egyptian co-production in collaboration with Empire International and Egyptian production powerhouse Film Clinic, whose latest credits include Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or contender Yomeddine.
Gianluca Chakra, Managing Director of Front Row, said: “Whether you’re a man or a woman, we all have something to hide… lying is universal. Paolo Genovese and team have delivered one of the most clever and universally adaptable scripts known to contemporary cinema. We’re extremely happy to be involved in such a proven property.”
Produced by Medusa Film, Leone Film Group and Lotus Productions, Perfetti Sconosciuti was released in 2016 and grossed an impressive $20m in Italy and worldwide box office of $31m. The film picked up several awards along the way, including two David di Donatello awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay as well as Best Screenplay in the International Narrative section at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
Perfect Strangers is the story of seven long-time friends who decide to play a game over dinner by putting all their mobile phones on the table, thus revealing every text message or phone call they receive that evening. Hilarity ensues, proving that each has three lives: public, private and secret.
The deal was negotiated by Gianluca Chakra and producer Faruk Alatan of Medusa. Film Clinic’s Mohamed Hefzy, Hisham Alghanim of KNCC and Empire International’s Mario Jr. Haddad will also be involved in production and financing.
Perfect Strangers boasts a series of global remakes, including a Spanish version which grossed over $25m, a Greek adaptation that tallied $1.8m and a Turkish version that accumulated $1.7m. German, Swedish, Korean and Russian versions are currently being developed. Back in 2016, the Weinstein Company acquired the English-language remake rights, with Gianni Nunnari (The Departed, Shutter Island) attached to produce.
Front Row President and KNCC GM Hisham Al Ghanim said: “We are also looking into more potential remake rights that could resonate well in the MENA. The aim for us is to find different business models encouraging co-productions between the Arab world, bridging the different cultures, introducing new talent and eventually gaining more markets. With the right material, this can be done.”
Front Row/KNCC and Empire will distribute the film in the Gulf and Levant. Film Clinic will handle theatrical release in Egypt, and Front Row will handle post-theatrical sales across the region.