Hollywood Films in North Africa and the Middle East

A History of Circulation

By Nolwenn Mingant

Subjects: Film Studies, Middle East Studies, African Studies, History, Mass Media
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Hardcover : 9781438488554, 260 pages, May 2022
Paperback : 9781438488547, 260 pages, November 2022

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations


Part I: Winning Hearts in the Colonial Era (1910s–1950s)

1. Entering the Market (1910s–1940s)

2. Hollywood Films and Their Audience

3. Hollywood Films as Political Objects

Part II: Losing Ground in a Changing Market: Political Independence and VCRs (1950s–1990s)

4. Political Upheavals: The Slow Disintegration of the Majors' Distribution Structure (1950s–1970s)

5. Losing Interest: The Move to Indirect Distribution (1970s–1990s)

Part III: US Films Galore in the Digital Era (2000s–2010s)

6. The Porous Nature of Closed Markets

7. North Africa: Cinema and Informal Economy

8. Historical Markets: The Age of Maturity

9. Film Boom in the Gulf



Traces the circulation of Hollywood films in North Africa and the Middle East from the early twentieth century to the present.


Drawing on a broad range of primary sources, from trade and government publications to interviews, Hollywood Films in North Africa and the Middle East traces the circulation of Hollywood films across the region from the early twentieth century to the present. Originally introduced by French distributors, Hollywood films have been a key component of film culture in North Africa and the Middle East. These films became a favored mode of entertainment during the first half of the century as the major US film studios built a strong distribution structure. After World War II, the changing geopolitical context of decolonization pushed US distributors out of the market. Hollywood films, however, have continued to be favored by audiences. Today, in a landscape that also includes Egyptian and Indian films, Hollywood remains a relevant force in the region’s film culture, experienced by audiences in myriad ways from the pirate markets of North Africa to state-of-the-art theatres in the United Arab Emirates.

Nowlenn Mingant is Professor in US History and Culture at the University of Angers in France. She is author and editor of several books, including coeditor (with Cecilia Tirtaine) of Reconceptualising Film Policies.


"This book greatly expands our understanding of international film distribution. Motion picture distribution is difficult to document because the business records of film companies are not generally open to researchers, and the subject has therefore attracted relatively little academic attention. Mingant's case study, however, demonstrates a firm command of the complexities of the subject by buttressing extensive research in secondary sources with primary sources from major archives, documentation from trade and government publications, and interviews with film professionals, government officials, and journalists. It will become the definitive history of the subject." — Tino Balio, author of Hollywood in the New Millennium