Disney Takes Aim at Family-Friendly Mideast

Company seeks to tap into Arabic appetite for family-friendly films
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 8:55 AM CST
Walt Disney plans to tap into growing demand for family entertainment in the Arab world.   (©ericskiff)
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(Newser) – Disney has decided it's a big world after all, the Financial Times reports. The company is making its first Arabic-language movie, aiming to tap into demand for family-friendly fare in the Middle East. The Last Storyteller will be produced somewhere in the Middle East and distributed in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar. Foreign-language remakes of hits like High School Musical are also in the works.

"There’s a really strong affinity between the strong family values in the region and the Disney brand," said a Disney manager, who noted that 70% of Arab speakers will be under 30 by 2012. Disney is leading the way among US studios seeking to expand abroad, especially in China, where its second locally made movie, Touch of the Panda, is due out next year.