Dubai’s popularity as an international film-making destination means movie buffs are spoiled for choice when it comes to real film and music video locations to visit.
WALK in the footsteps of your favourite celebrities, visit attractions where your favourite scenes were shot, and meet people who were involved in the movies themselves (if you are lucky!). Dubai and the UAE has played many starring roles in many blockbuster movies and music videos, thanks to its futuristic skylines, royal palaces and epic desert wilderness. Take a Hollywood-inspired tour of the emirate with our guide to Dubai’s hottest movie and music video locations.
The Movie: Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The Location: Downtown and Jumeirah Lake Towers
The sci-fi blockbuster, Star Trek Beyond, began filming in Dubai in July 2015. Producer Jeffrey Chernov said that Dubai was chosen primarily for fitting their “world of the future” needs, with features as a Federation Starbase known as YorkTown, encountered by the crew of the Starship Enterprise on their intergalactic journey. Coinciding with 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series, its premiere in 2016 was a perfect moment to showcase Dubai’s larger-than-life landmarks to the world. For Trekkie, you absolutely must visit Jumeirah Lake Towers and Downtown Burj Khalifa, of course, as sets for the city of the future in the real world.
In Jumeirah Lakes area you will find mixed-use freehold development that is located near Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Heights. It consists of 87 towers grouped around four artificial lakes. If you would like to go shopping, you can go to Dubai Marina Mall.
The Movie: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
The Location: Burj Khalifa
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, is the biggest blockbuster ever to be filmed in Dubai. Feel the thrilling sensation felt by Tom Cruise’s character in the movie, Ethan Hunt, as he hangs off the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world from as high as 829,84m. Fun fact: the Burj stunt alone took 23 days and requiredsome 400 crew members on hand to ensure that bankable star Cruise, who insisted on doing the stunt himself, was kept safe.
You can experience The Burj Khalifa from its two observations decks. Choose between the two-storey At the Top on the 124th and 125th floors or the world’s highest observation deck (555m) on the 148th floor. Not only observation deck, immerse yourself in the virtual reality (VR) experience called Mission 828, a stimulated, four-minute parachute-jump down to The Dubai Fountain, so that you can feel how it is like to ascend and descend the tower in an adventurous fashion. For a truly special experience, you can choose to dine in Atmosphere Restaurant and Lounge on the 122nd floor or stay in the Armani Hotel, first of its kind in the world.
The Movie: Syriana (2005)
The Location: Dubai desert
An all-star cast including George Clooney and Matt Damon star in this tense drama, which intertwines numerous storylines, including a dubious oil company merger, an Arabian royalty visit and an assassination plot. This major blockbuster film was shot in 15 different locations, including the USA, Morocco, Egypt, Switzerland and Dubai Desert.
And of course, you don’t want to miss the thrilling dune bashing when you are in Dubai! If you up to more exciting experience, you can choose to discover desert wildlife at night through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, equipped with a spot light and night vision binoculars. Explore the desert at night, look for scorpions and end the night by stargazing with hot chocolate. You can opt for Arabian Adventures to help you book your dream trip.
Music Video: Thunder by Imagine Dragons
Location: Dubai Design District (d3)
Who doesn’t know US-based indie rock band Imagine Dragons with their hit single Thunder that has stayed for 52 weeks at the Billboard Charts? And yes, they chose to shoot their music video completely in Dubai. The video takes viewers on a tour around Dubai Design District, Sheikh Zayed Road, a walk around Dubai Marina, the Gold Souq in Old Dubai, City Walk in Jumeirah and one of the footbridges on the Dubai Canal.
Among those places, most of the scenes focus on Dubai Design District, known also as d3. This urban development is dedicated to the fashion industry as well as other types of professional design, and houses design studios and soon-to-open hotels and high-end apartments and a shopping promenade. What you can do in d3? The answer is a visit to hip cafes popping up left and right. Try Mediterranean fare at The Lighthouse or enjoy a modern spin on French cuisine at Molecule, where you can rub shoulders with those in the fashion-know.
Music Video: So Much by Wiz Khalifa
Location: Dubai desert
Another artist who chose Dubai as the location for their music video is Wiz Khalifa. With his single, So Much, he recreates scenes of his concert and spends his time getting up-close-and-personal with tigers, feeding giraffes and dancing amid the sand dunes. You want to do the same thing as Wiz Khalifa? The answer is yes you can.
The Dubai desert has a magical touch that attracts visitors to always come back to the desert during their visit to Dubai. There is no sunset like that of the Dubai Desert, where you are far from the hustle bustle of city, If you are a morning person, you can also choose to have a camel ride through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to see the desert flora and fauna. Along the way, stop for a picnic breakfast and a glass of bubbles on the shores of a lake.