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7 Egyptian Box Office Failures That Became Popular Cult Classic Films

Despite failing to bring in the money, these 7 film still left significant marks on the Egyptian movie industry.

When it comes to the movie industry, not much makes sense. One chick flick that only took two weeks to shoot can turn into the biggest blockbuster of the year, while some film masterpieces fail to even cover the cost it took to create them. Our own massive Egyptian cinema industry is no different. In fact, some of the greatest movies in Egypt's history were box office failures. Here are seven films that flopped in theatres and later took on cult classic status:

Al Nasser Salah Al-Din

Despite being one of the top 100 Egyptian movies according to renowned critics, this massive historical production failed to impress movie goers around the country. The movie made EGP 144K in revenue against an EGP 200K budget. After it got pulled off the theatres and got broadcasted on TV, the movie gained widespread popularity and it continues to maintain an iconic status among Egyptian productions of the era.

Baheb Al Cima (I Love Cinema)

The church's stiff opposition to the 2004 production sparked several lawsuits aimed at banning this family drama. The movie tells the story of the 10-year old Christian child of a strictly religious father and a liberal yet oppressed mother. The movie touches down on deeply sensitive issues in the mentality of some of Egypt's Copts, which eventually gained it a big fan base after its ticket revenue fell EGP five million short of the budget.  

Rasa'el Al Ba7r (Messages From The Sea)

The dreamy romantic thriller starring Asser Yassin and Basma is now a widely popular cult movie among Egypt's youth. Upon its release, however, the 2010 production didn't gain much attention against the comedy industry sweeping the scene at the time. The movie tells the story of a physicist with speech impediment, who leaves it all behind and pursue the life of a sailor in his old hometown. Rasa'el Al Bahr was Egypt's pick for the 2010 Oscar's Best Foreign Film category.

Ahla Al Aw'at (The Best of Times)

The 2004 production tells the story of the childhood friends Doha, Salma, and Yosrya. Each of them took a different path in life before they eventually reunited after one of them lost her mother. To put things in perspective, the movie made EGP 2 million in the same year when the comedy-production 3okal made EGP 20 million.

Al Zawyga Al Thaniya (The Second Wife)

The iconic 1969 production is one of the most recognisable movies ever made in Egyptian cinema. Soad Hosny's role as the mayor's second wife gained her widespread critical acclaim upon its TV airing. The movie, however, faced a fierce backlash as the plot was perceived to be based on the political scene of the era, which eventually pushed it to failure in the box office.


The 2010 independent production was one of the boldest films of the era. After many doors shut in his face, Khaled takes haphazard steps back into Alexandria's underground music scene. The indie film witnessed the first of appearance of the band Massar Egbari, which later became one of Egypt's most popular bands.

Benten Min Masr (2 Egyptian Girls)

The movie-which was released a few months before the revolution of January 25th- heartbreakingly captures the story of two Egyptian girls lost in the era which witnessed widespread corruption and deterioration of human rights. The movie was unpopular in the box office, making EGP 11 million against a budget of EGP 25 million.

This article was originally published by ElFasla and written by Ahmed Fares.