An upcoming Hollywood fantasy film starring Gerard Butler and Geoffrey Rush, called Gods of Egypt, will release as Kings of Egypt in the Middle East. The change of name came from the studio Lionsgate, according to a regional distributor.
“It’s the same film with the same cut. Nothing has been changed in the film. It’s just releasing under a different title,” said Samy Khoury, the president of Jaguar Films. “The studio decided to release it that way. We didn’t change anything.”
Directed by Alex Proyas, known for films such as I, Robot (2004) and Knowing (2009), the action film is about ancient Egyptian deities and their battle for the throne. It was made on a budget of $140 million and also stars Elodie Young, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Brenton Thwaites.
But this is not the first time a film has been released under a different name in the Middle East.
In 2011, Dreamworks Studio changed the title of their animated film, Puss in Boots, starring Antonio Banderas, to Cat in Boots. Regional distributors said the name change was a marketing strategy and not due to cultural or religious reasons.
“It was agreed upon that Cat In Boots title would be more clearly understood. It is common practice to many foreign territories outside of the US to change a movie title to suit their territory better, which is what we did with Cat In Boots,” Pamela Abou Chabki, the marketing director at Four Star Films told Gulf News then.
Kings of Egypt came under criticism last year when it was accused of ethnically inaccurate casting. The backlash, following the release of the film’s trailer, promoted director Proyas and Lionsgate to issue an apology about the predominantly white cast.
“The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologise to those who are offended by the decisions we made,” Proyas said in a statement. Director Ridley Scott’s biblical epic, Exodus: Gods and King, also faced similar criticisms in 2014. It did not release in the UAE.
Kings of Egypt, however, is set to release in IMAX 3D, 3D and 2D formats, said Jaguar Films’ Khoury.
“The effects are mind-blowing. I have never seen anything like it,” he said.
The film is scheduled to release in the UAE on February 25.