Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Vox Cinemas works the crowds with 20th Century Fox tie-up

Dubai: The Majid Al Futtaim Group owned Vox Cinemas is offering a compelling reason for avid movie-goers to hit the cinema. A family from the UAE stands to win a chance to go on an all-expenses paid trip to New York and visit to the fabled Blue Sky Studios, the maker of such enduring animated hits as the ‘Rio’ and ‘Ice Age’ franchises.

To make this happen, Vox Cinemas has entered into a triple-play alliance that also involves the Rupert Murdoch owned US studio 20th Century Fox and Empire International, the movie distribution house. The collaboration’s first outing will be centred on the new release, ‘Rio 2’, which opened this week in the UAE.

There will be special events and live shows marking the ‘Rio 2’ release at some of the Majid Al Futtaim Group owned malls in the UAE, including at Deira City Centre and Mall of the Emirates. The campaign’s highlight will be the chance for one family to head for New York. 

A top Vox Cinemas official confirmed that preliminary talks are on to explore similar tie-in options for upcoming releases from 20th Century Fox, which could also cover other markets apart from the UAE. The cinema operator is launching at Oman’s Muscat City Centre and Qurum City Centre this summer.

“There’s been no slackening in the numbers heading for multiplexes in the region; last year there was a 20 per cent increase in number of tickets sold and this year the expectation is another double-digit growth,” said Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas. “It’s a completely different situation to what one sees in the US, where there was an increase in gross ticket sales but from fewer people visiting the cinemas.

“In the Middle East, a big plus for movie watchers is that the price of tickets is still much lower than in the US or some of the other territories.”

For Majid Al Futtaim Group, the strategy is clear. In the UAE and across the region, malls are making the transition from being just a shopping destination. Entertainment is just as important a factor in pulling in visitors and making them spend more time there. By combining its malls with the Vox Cinemas offering, the Group wants to work all the angles.

The “collaboration is a strategic opportunity to engage with the international entertainment and film industry,” said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, senior director – property management, shopping malls for Majid Al Futtaim – Properties. “This partnership will extend to regional markets in which we operate.”

The timing of the alliance will also prove beneficial. With summer drawing in, it is also the time when local multiplexes see a marked spike in turnouts. Apart from the heat, it is also the season of blockbuster releases from all of the leading US studios.

The deal makes sure 20th Century Fox and Majid Al Futtaim Group will have a front row view of the upcoming action phase.