With all the glitz and glamour in the United Arab Emirates, it is unquestionable why the Gulf country has become very popular among artistes, actors, and other big names in the entertainment industry.
Over the last decade, the UAE has risen to become one of the favorite destination for filmmakers across the world, and it is safe to say that all the movies that have been filmed in the country have all been high-grossing movies.
The presence of numerous surreal architectural structures in the country with amazing backdrops and skylines, as well as the option to get a feel of the traditional Arabian vibe such as the authentic desert experience, have attracted a lot of great Hollywood filmmakers.
Below are 10 of the popular Hollywood movies filmed in the UAE.
1. 6 Underground (2019)
Filmed in numerous cities across the world, one of which is Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, 6 Underground which is scheduled for release tomorrow December 13, 2019, is the most expensive film Netflix has ever distributed at $150 million. The Michael Bay-directed film feature scenes from the Liwa desert, Aldar HQ, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, Etihad Towers, Yas Marina Circuit, Sheikh Zayed Bridge, the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and more.
2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
The filming of Mission: Impossible – Fallout concluded in the United Arab Emirates on March 25, 2018, although it was portrayed in the movie to be France. The production included filming of a High Altitude Opening (HALO) jump scene with Tom Cruise, who has been on the Mission: Impossible franchise since it started. One of the challenges for the visual effects was replacing the Abu Dhabi desert with Paris, which is where the jump is supposed to take place in the movie.
3. Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The producer of Star Trek Beyond, Jeffrey Chernov said they were searching for the future and fortunately, they found that future in the surreal and futuristic Dubai. In the movie, Dubai was portrayed as Starbase Yorktown, which was shown at the end of the movie. Shooting locations in Dubai included the Burj Al Arab, Downtown Dubai, Meydan Racetrack, JLT and Sheikh Zayed Road.
4. Furious 7 (2015)
“Cars don’t fly! Cars don’t fly!” is a line that will probably linger in the hearts of the fans of the Fast & Furious franchise forever. Those were Paul Walker’s words to Vin Diesel who smashed through the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, in the $3.4 million USD Lykan HyperSport. Although the tragic death of Paul Walker temporarily put the movie on halt, it was finally concluded and released in 2015, becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of 2015. Parts of the movie were shot in Abu Dhabi using the Emirates Palace Hotel, Yas Island and the Liwa Desert as their shooting locations.
5. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode: The Force Awakens was one of the most anticipated movies of 2015 and it didn’t disappoint the fans when it was finally released. Some parts of the movie were shot on Rub’ al Khali’ desert; Abu Dhabi, which served as the fictional planet of Jakku.
6. Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
When a movie features Eric Bana, it’s sure to be mind-blowing, and that’s what Deliver Us from Evil did when it was released in middle of 2014. Production was moved to Abu Dhabi after filming was wrapped up in New York and filming took place at the Liwa Oasis desert in Abu Dhabi.
7. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol will probably go down as one of the biggest blockbuster movies ever to be filmed in the UAE. The movie featured Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt hanging on the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, where he performed an incredibly dangerous stunt which took 23 days to ensure Tom Cruise was kept safe after he insisted on doing it himself instead of using professionals. Viewers also got some great views of the rest of Dubai, including DIFC and The Palm Jumeirah.
8. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Most scenes of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was shot in New York, but some of the luxurious scenes were filmed in Dubai. The movie starred A-list actors; Michael Douglas and Shia Labeouf, and it was directed by Oliver Stone.
9. The Kingdom (2007)
The Kingdom featured the renowned actor, Jamie Foxx as the main cast, and filming took place in Abu Dhabi for two weeks in the summer of 2007. Universal Pictures didn’t have an office in the Middle East at the time so the production was facilitated by a Dubai-based production firm, and the filming took place in one of the most popular places in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates Palace.
10. Syriana (2005)
The oldest movie on this list, Syrianna was a story based on the world of petroleum politics which made the Middle East the perfect region to shoot the movie because it is the region blessed with so much oil. The blockbuster movie was shot in 15 different locations including USA, Morocco, Egypt, Switzerland and Dubai. Most of the desert scenes were shot in the Dubai desert.