How is Disney’s remake of Aladdin good news for the Middle East?

The film, which premiered worldwide in cinemas in May, was partly filmed in the kingdom’s Wadi Rum desert.

The location has previously served as a backdrop for films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), The Martian (2015), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and the all-time classic, Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Aladdin, which was made in conjunction with Jordan’s Royal Film Commission, created 150 local jobs and took more than $150 million dollars in its first eight days at the North American box office.

As of Friday, June 7th the 2019 US remake had made $214.9 million domestically and $508 million worldwide, according to Forbes.

The hope of Jordan’s Film Commission is that the movie continues to work its magic and encourage other filmmakers to produce their next project in the region.

Ahead of the film’s release, the cast made a public appearance in the Jordanian capital Amman to discuss the movie’s making.


Whilst the new Aladdin release could be considered something of a departure from Guy Ritchie’s trademark neo-noir productions like Sherlock Holmes (2009), and gangster movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), the movie bears its fair share of grit and fast-paced chases.

For the parts filmed in Wadi Rum, the British director said the landscaped matched the cinematic aesthetic he had in mind.

“It’s funny, because it (Wadi Rum) is almost built into the psyche of most film directors,” he told Euronews.

Contributing to Jordan’s developing film industry story was a humbling experience for Ritchie, especially when charged with remaking the much-loved animated Aladdin film of 1992.

According to the director, his key objective was to retain the film’s original essence whilst adding a contemporary touch, to please today’s young audience.

“I suppose the biggest challenge was making sure that you fused the old and the new,” he said, “That you didn’t disturb the nostalgia of the first film, yet embellished it with applicable character evolution.”


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