Exploring Egypt’s Female Box Office Stars

Kadry Al-Haggar
5 Min Read

Throughout the rich history of Egyptian cinema, male artists have consistently dominated the box office, drawing large audiences and achieving impressive revenues. However, female stars, despite their ability to generate significant income through their cinematic works, have often been overlooked. Let’s explore some iconic women who defied this trend and left their mark on Egyptian cinema.

Exploring Egypt’s Female Box Office Stars 

Egyptian Cinema’s Trailblazing Female Stars

Leila Mourad: Born in Cairo in 1918, Leila Mourad was a legendary singer and actress. Her debut as a singer in the cinema was in “The Victims,” six years before she began her acting career. She collaborated with director Togo Mizraahy, who helped her overcome shyness and become a great cinematic actress. Later, her marriage to actor Anwar Wagdy further boosted their popularity, making them the beloved artistic couple of their time.

Hend Rostom: Often referred to as the “queen of temptation” in Arab cinema, Hend Rostom’s films in the 1960s and 1970s consistently topped the box office, reaping substantial profits.

Nadia El-Gendy: Emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s, Nadia El-Gendy achieved unprecedented success at the box office. She even outperformed male stars in terms of profitability, earning her the title of the “star of the masses.”

Nabila Obaid: In the same era, Nabila Obaid established herself as a box office star, engaging in intense competition with El-Gendy for the highest percentage of revenues.

Yasmine Abdel Aziz: In the 1990s, Yasmine Abdel Aziz emerged as a beloved star. Her successful films, including “Dada Dodi” (2008) and “Miss Mami” (2012), often outperformed her male counterparts.

Despite these remarkable achievements, recent years have seen a lack of female artists competing with male stars for box office success. Perhaps critics and cinephiles can shed light on the current box office stars of our time.


Changing Tides in Egyptian Cinema

In the ever-evolving landscape of Egyptian cinema, norms have shifted. According to writer and critic Khairiya El-Bashlawi, social media has made everything more accessible, and audiences are now better informed than ever before. Success at the box office hinges on delivering compelling leading roles in films that generate substantial revenues. Gone are the days of individual stars; today, artistic works thrive on collaboration among a group of talented artists rather than relying solely on one individual.

This collective spirit is evident in recent cinematic offerings like “Welad Rizk 3” and “Al Serb,” where multiple actors share the spotlight. The era of iconic stars like Adel Imam, Nour al-Sharif, and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz dominating the industry has faded. Instead, a new reality emerges—one where success is achieved through collective effort and unique storytelling.

Exploring Egypt’s Female Box Office Stars 

Emerging Female Artists Shine

Critics like Walid Saif recognize the emergence of a group of young female artists who play significant roles. Salma Abu Deif, Asmaa Galal, Mayan El-Sayed, and Mirna Gamil each possess the ability to take on leading roles and achieve individual success. Their performances resonate with a young audience that admires their talent.

Encouraging these young talents to take on independent artistic projects is crucial. They must carefully select roles, undergo thorough training, and utilize their abilities to the fullest. Injecting new artistic energy into the scene will enrich the cinematic landscape, attract audiences, and contribute to industry growth.

Exploring Egypt’s Female Box Office Stars

The Decline of Box Office Stars

Samir El-Gamal, a writer and screenwriter, asserts that the era of female box-office stars waned when Nadia El-Gendy and Nabila Obaid stepped back from leading roles in the ’80s and early ’90s. Unfortunately, recent years confirm that the concept of a box-office star is no longer relevant. Female artists are now easily accessible through platforms like advertisements and social media, diminishing the audience’s desire to see them on the big screen.

Additionally, lacklustre scripts and the absence of standout stars contribute to the decline. Audiences now prioritize compelling narratives over celebrity names, as exemplified by the success of the film “Al-Harifa,” which grossed over EGP 75m in a year, driven by a fresh group of talented individuals.

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