If you are someone who knows a lot about the entertainment industry, you’re probably aware that Hollywood isn’t the only place where TV shows and movies are filmed. In fact, the United Arab Emirates have several film sets scattered about in various locations, making it a great destination for those looking to explore more of the country.


The UAE has been a popular destination for film, reality TV, series and documentaries for many years. The country offers a wide variety of locations, from desert landscapes to modern cities, which makes it an ideal setting for all kinds of stories and concepts.


Some of the most popular films, ad campaigns, documentaries and TV shows that have been filmed in the UAE include


  • Dubai Bling

‘Dubai Bling’, UAE’s recent blockbuster hit show featured some of the wealthiest and most popular personalities in Dubai. With Private Jets, Social Events, lavish parties, stunning skylines and jaw-dropping fashion, the show shocked everyone with Dubai’s luxury lifestyle. The entirety of ‘Dubai Bling’ was shot in the Emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, the Atlantis, Cé la Vi, Address Beach Resort, Madame Tussauds, The Palm, nearby desert landscapes, etc. are just a few of the locations that appear in exterior shots. 


  • The Real Housewives of Dubai

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), specifically various areas of Dubai, where the women are situated and where the reality show is set, is the location where “The Real Housewives of Dubai” is filmed. These millionaires are known for their opulent lifestyles, jaw-dropping mansions, and extravagant fashion, all set against the beautiful skyline of Dubai.

Emaar Square Area, Canary Club, and multiple other infrastructures can be seen as backdrops to several scenes of the show. 


  • Fast & Furious 7

Did you know that many Abu Dhabi locations are instantly recognizable in Fast & Furious 7? A vertigo-inducing sports car leaps between the glass-walled Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a convoy of opulent sports cars race through the flame-hued Liwa Desert dunes, and the Fast & Furious crew walk dramatically down the golden steps of Emirates Palace.


  • Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol 

We are sure that fans of action movies are well aware that American actor Tom Cruise performs all of his own stunts, and Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol was no exception. In the fourth movie in the series, Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, hangs from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The stunt was filmed over the course of 23 days with 400 crew members present to ensure the safety of the gravity-defying stunt.


  • Visit Dubai Commercial

Jessica Alba and Zac Efron, the iconic stars from Hollywood were featured in the Visit Dubai Ad Campaign Series where they showcased multiple locations in Dubai. Unlike the usual 1-3 minute short commercials, this one had a completely different point of view. It was shot like a movie with a storyline, suspense, and climax. From driving a motorbike in front of the Museum of the Future to parachuting off a helipad atop the Burj Al Arab, this commercial had it all.


  • Yas Island Commercial

Hollywood actor and stand-up comedian, Kevin Hart was given the position of Chief Island Officer of Yas Island and was featured in the Yas Island promotional ad campaign series. Many areas from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi were shown in the videos such as the Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Water World, Yas Mall, Ferrari World, etc.


  • Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens

The wide Rub Al Khali served as the backdrop for the opening sequences of the seventh episode of Star Wars, which once again put the Abu Dhabi desert centre stage. The producers naturally chose a large area of undulating dunes that extended as far as the eye could reach to get the otherworldly effect they were going for.


  • Star Trek – Beyond 

Producers of Star Trek – Beyond wanted a similarly futuristic metropolis for the Starbase of Yorktown, so it came as no surprise when the actors travelled to Dubai for six months of production in 2015. The iconic architecture of Dubai’s JLT beachfront, Meydan racetrack, and the Burj Al Arab may all be featured in the 13th instalment of the franchise.


  • The Misfits

Awards-winning actor Piers Brosnan and the rest of the cast and crew of the action-heist The Misfits filmed in Abu Dhabi for several weeks in 2019. It’s a modern take on the traditional heist film, and it was entirely filmed and produced in Abu Dhabi, with the help of FilmGate Productions, an Emirati film production company.


  • Dune 

Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, and Jason Momoa were among the A-list actors who travelled to Abu Dhabi to film sequences. Dune is set on the hostile fictitious planet Arrakis, which is represented by the flame-hued planes of the Abu Dhabi desert.


  • Syriana 

Many of the desert sequences in Syriana were filmed in the Dubai desert, which was the first significant Hollywood production to use Dubai as a filming location. The Middle East’s oil business serves as the central theme of the suspenseful drama starring famous Hollywood actors George Clooney and Matt Damon.


  • 6 Underground 

6 Underground, the highest-budget Netflix film to date, spent six weeks filming in Abu Dhabi in November 2018; the production was well-documented, and the movie, which was released in December 2019, included several of the city’s most well-known landmarks. All of the scenes in which the movie’s star Ryan Reynolds and his crew travel to California, the Middle East, and Hong Kong were shot in Abu Dhabi. Liwa Desert, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Aldar Headquarters, the first circular skyscraper in the world.


  • Vanguard 

Vanguard, the most recent Stanley Tong action-adventure film starring Jackie Chan, is set against an astounding array of stunning backdrops, including the future Dubai skyline. 2019 saw the actors and crew film scenes in Dubai at locations like Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, and The Dubai Mall for the spy thriller.


  • Ultimate Airport Dubai 

The National Geographic Channel broadcasts the documentary television series Ultimate Airport Dubai in more than 170 countries and 45 different languages. This series was shot mainly in the Dubai International Airport from September 2012 to February 2013 with multiple scenes in the Emirates Airbus A380 and Boeing 777.


These are just a few of the many productions that have made use of the UAE’s diverse locations. If you’re looking to invest in a property that could potentially be the backdrop of the newest Netflix production or an exclusive Hollywood hit, be sure to contact our expert property specialist team to know more.

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