'M:I5,' 'Exodus,' 'American Sniper' Help Morocco to Record Spending From Foreign Productions

Exodus: Gods and Kings Still 3 - H 2014
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Exodus: Gods and Kings Still 3 - H 2014

The North African country saw a six-fold increase in international film spending during 2014 to $120 million.

While the United Arab Emirates has attracted such productions as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fast & Furious 7 and Jordan is no doubt hoping the rumored Indiana Jones reboot will bring the franchise back to its shores, 2014 saw Morocco quietly underline its status as the Arab world’s most popular destination for international shoots.

According to figures released by the Moroccan Cinematographic Center, the country welcomed $120 million in spending from foreign productions last year, a six-fold increase compared to 2013 and more than the last five years combined. It was a single-year record for Morocco.

The hike was boosted by major productions led by Mission: Impossible 5, which closed a major highway bypass in Marrakech for almost two weeks for shoots.

Other major productions included NBC's 12-episode biblical series A.D. The Bible Continues and Son of God. Scenes for American Sniper, A Hologram for the King, Exodus: Gods and Kings and Queen of the Desert were also shot amid Morocco's mountains and deserts. The upcoming James Bond movie, Spectre, also shot a scene in the country in December and is reportedly set to return for a longer shoot this summer.

"For the Middle East region, we are practically the only one that can guarantee peace and stability," said center head Sarim Fassi-Fihri, speaking at the close of the Tangiers Film Festival on Saturday.