Hollywood’s Stampede Ventures and Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla Forge Milestone $350 Million Pact

November 1, 2023

By Nick Vivarelli via Variety

Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla, the film entity looking to attract international productions to a sprawling area of desert and giant boulders, has forged a partnership with Hollywood indie Stampede Ventures, bringing 10 productions to the region over the next three years with a projected $350 million spend.

The groundbreaking agreement with Stampede marks the first deal of this scale between Hollywood and Saudi since the kingdom lifted its ban on cinema in late 2017. Stampede is headed by U.S. industry veteran Greg Silverman, former president of creative development and physical production at Warner Bros. Silverman launched Stampede Ventures in 2018.

“It’s a huge step forward,” Film AlUla executive director Charlene Deleon-Jones told Variety, noting that the pact follows a successful partnership with Stampede on the film “K-Pops!,” the directorial debut of multiple Grammy-winner Anderson .Paak. That film is being partly shot in the spectacular swathe of northwest Saudi that boasts an ancient city and is now equipped with a state-of-the-art studio.

Stampede’s recent projects include the film “Space Cadet” with Emma Roberts, Lionsgate’s drama “Ordinary Angels” with Hilary Swank and Australian gold rush comedy “Gold Diggers.”

Thanks to a three-year pipeline of still unspecified productions, the partnership with Stampede is bound to play a significant role in AlUla’s ambitions to make the leap from being a regional hub to becoming a major driver for Saudi’s ambitions to build a film industry from scratch as it diversifies from its oil-based economy.

Hollywood productions shot in AlUla to date include Gerard Butler action-thriller “Kandahar,” directed by Ric Roman Waugh, and “Cherry,” starring Tom Holland and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.