Art And Culture

US Studios Eager to Enter Iran Market

US Studios Eager to Enter Iran MarketUS Studios Eager to Enter Iran Market

Iran could become a major market for the US studios, surpassing even the UAE, if sanctions are lifted as planned under a long-negotiated nuclear deal between the country and major world powers, according to 20th Century Fox executive vice president, Paul Higginson.

He was speaking on the fringes of pan-Arab distributor Empire International’s annual Dubai International Film Festival dinner on Dec 10, reported.

“Iran is a very important potential market of 80 million people. As soon as we are able to engage with the market, we will,” Higginson said.

He believes that US studios entering Iran market could help with the development of films, both in and outside the country.

“Will they let us in? That is for them to decide. We are available. We want to be involved in the market and to communicate. Communication improves understanding and we want to do business there. I do not see any downside,” he added.

Following a landmark framework deal this summer between Iran and the six world powers including Russia and the US, long-standing sanctions against Iran could be lifted as early as January.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has not purchased any movies from US distributors and the very few American movies screened in the country have been taken from European or Asian companies.

During the past 36 years, the majority of Iranian cinema officials have been against the wide release of foreign movies in local movie theaters. They say that as there are less than 400 cinema halls in the country where almost 100 movies are produced annually, there is no space for foreign productions.

On the other hand, there are some sections of officials, cineastes and cinema owners who support the idea of screening foreign films as it can help domestic cinema by creating a competitive spirit.

Their argument is that the almost empty halls during most part of the year and for most of the films, except for a handful of comedies and children’s movies which attract the audiences, is proof that less than 10% of the population sees local productions. Screening foreign films, including a wide range of genres not existing in Iranian films, will encourage more people to visit cinema halls.

They argue that such an initiative will not only benefit cinema owners but also help local industry improve the quality of their productions in a competitive market.

As Higginson said, one has to wait and watch what decision Iranian cinema officials will make after the sanctions are lifted.