Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (film)

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mike Newell
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by
Story by Jordan Mechner
Based on Prince of Persia 
by Jordan Mechner
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography John Seale
Edited by
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • May 9, 2010 (2010-05-09) (London premiere)
  • May 28, 2010 (2010-05-28) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[1]
Box office $336.4 million[2]

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a 2010 action fantasy film directed by Mike Newell. The film was written by Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina, Ben Kingsley as Nizam, and Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar.

The film has the same title as the video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and is primarily based on it. Elements from Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the two other titles from the Sands of Time trilogy of the Prince of Persia video game franchise, are also incorporated. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a disappointment at the domestic box office, but became the highest-grossing film based on a video game.


In the royal city of Nasaf, the king Sharaman rules the nation of Persia with the help of his brother Nizam. The king goes on to have two sons named Tus and Garsiv. One day in the marketplace, an orphan boy named Dastan protects his friend, Bis, from being executed by Persian soldiers. The king sees Dastan's bravery and adopts him, making him a prince of Persia. Years later, Dastan is a grown man and is still up to his rebellious ways. However, he remains faithful to the empire. When Nizam receives proof that the city of Alamut is supplying weapons to Persian enemies, he and Tus plan to attack with Garsiv leading the siege. Ignoring Tus’ command, Dastan and Bis breech Alamut on their own, and destroy most of the city. Meanwhile, the princess of Alamut, Tamina, orders her servant Asoka to take a special dagger out of the city and protect it at all costs. During the battle, Dastan and Asoka cross paths and fight; Dastan ultimately wins. He then finds the dagger and keeps it.

Nizam, Tus, and Garsiv go to the Alamut’s castle and order Tamina to confess to selling weapons. She denies it and Tus asks her to marry him to unite to two nations. She only accepts after seeing that Dastan is in possession of the dagger. After the siege, the king is furious with Tus for attacking the holy city of Alamut and they argue. Tus goes back to Alamut to find the weapons, and gives Dastan a prayer robe to give to the King as a gift at his banquet. There, Dastan asks the king for his approval for Tus to marry Tamina. But instead, the king proposes that Tamina be married to Dastan. Seconds later, the kings starts to scream in pain as his prayer robe has been poisoned. He dies and Garsiv accuses Dastan of being the murderer. Bis tries to help Dastan run but gets killed, and Dastan leaves with Tamina instead. After the two escape, Tus is appointed king and Dastan becomes a fugitive.

While Tamina and Dastan are hiding in the desert, Tamina attempts to kill Dastan for the dagger. During the struggle, Dastan presses the jewel on the hilt of the Dagger and the sand inside is released. As a result, time goes backward and only Dastan in aware of what happened. Dastan then realizes that Tus invaded Alamut not for weapon forges, but for the dagger. He and Tamina then head to Avrat when the king's funeral will be held. As they are walking through the Valley of the Slaves, Tamina pretends to faint and Dastan goes to help her. She hits him over the head and knocks him unconscious. Dastan wakes up to find Tamina and the dagger gone, and meets Shiek Amar and Seso. They track down Tamina, and Dastan gives her to Shiek Amar and takes the dagger back. Tamina then tells Dastan the dagger is sacred and that she is a guardian ordered by the gods to protect it, but he doesn’t believe her.

Shiek Amar recognizes Dastan and attempts to take him back to Persia for the reward money. Dastan and Tamina escape by starting a riot and head off into Avrat. Dastan manages to get a message to Nizam to meet him. When Nizam arrives, Dastan tries to tell him that Tus killed the king for the dagger, but sees that Tamina stole it again. Dastan notices that Nizam hands are burned, and realizes that Nizam is the one who poisoned the robe and killed the King. Garsiv and the Persian soldiers see Dastan and chase him throughout the city, but he escapes again. When Tus asks Nizam why Dastan came to Avrat, Nizam lies as says the Dastan tried to kill him, suggesting that he being killed instead of put on trail. Tus disagrees, so Nizam orders the Hassansins, covert warriors, to kill Dastan and find the dagger.

Later, Dastan finds Tamina in the desert just a sandstorm blows in. When the two seek cover from the storm, Dastan asks Tamina for the truth about the Dagger: Many years ago, the gods decided to erase mankind from the earth with great sandstorm to pay for their sins. A young girl then prayed that the gods would give humanity a second chance and offered her life in exchange. The gods saw the purity within the girl and put the sands of the sandstorm into the sandglass. The dagger is the only thing that can pierce the sandglass, but the handle only holds one minute. The dagger was given to the young girl, making her the first guardian. Dastan then realizes that Nizam’s plan is to place to dagger in the sandglass and press the jewel button at the same time. This way sand would flow endlessly, causing Nizam to go back in time and prevent himself from from saving Sharaman from a lion as children. Tamina says that in doing so, Nizam will break the sandglass, ending the world.

To stop Nizam’s plans, Dastan and Tamina travel to a temple in the Hindu Kush where the dagger can be returned to the gods. They team up with Sheik Amar and Seso, but are later found by Garsiv. Dastan explains everything to Garsiv, who is then killed by Hassansins. Tamina attempts to return to dagger to the stone, meaning that she will die. Dastan tries to stop her and the two almost kiss, but Tamina is knocked unconscious by a Hassansin and the dagger is stolen.

Dastan, Tamina, Sheik Amar, and Seso travel back to Alamut to retrieve the Dagger from Nizam and tell Tus the truth. Seso dies getting the dagger back to Dastan, and Nizam is alerted the sandglass has been found. To get Tus to believe him, Dastan kills himself with the dagger after telling Tus to press the button. Tus does so, and sees the power the dagger holds. Nizam then walks in, kills Tus, and takes the dagger back. Tamina saves Dastan from being killed and the two head for underground tunnels that lead to the sandglass. There Dastan and Tamina are separated and Dastan is confronted by the Hassansin leader. He pins Dastan down, but Tamina comes from behind and stabs him in the eye, and Dastan pushes him to his death. Dastan and Tamina kiss and then go after Nizam.

When they reach him, Nizam stabs the sandglass and throws the both of them off the side of a cliff. Dastan hold on to it with one arm and Tamina with the other. Tamina then sacrifices herself so that Dastan can stop Nizam. The two fight, Dastan removes the dagger from the sandglass and transported back to moment to he found the dagger, causing all the previous events to have never happened. Dastan finds Tus and Garsiv and exposes Nizam’s betrayal. Nizam attempts to kill Dastan, but is subdued and then killed by Tus.

Tus apologizes to Tamina and proposes that the nations bond by her marrying Dastan. Dastan returns the dagger to Tamina and tells her he looks forward to their future together.




In March 2004, the production company Jerry Bruckheimer Films sought to acquire feature film rights to the 2003 video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with the film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Under John August as executive producer, the series' creator Jordan Mechner was hired to write the script. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy served as a touchstone in how a theme park ride was converted into a film franchise. According to Mechner, "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story."[3] Mechner previously considered producing an animated film based on the games, but could not resist Disney and Bruckheimer's offer.[4] In February 2006, Disney hired screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff to write a new script for Prince of Persia.[5]

Early in 2007, Disney announced Rahul the Prince as one of its tentpole films and by June had scheduled a release date for July 10, 2009, before having a final script or any actors attached.[6] By November 2007, Disney entered negotiations with Mike Newell to direct the film based on a script by Mechner and Nachmanoff, though the studio held off production until the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike was resolved.[7] Newell was fond of Bruckheimer's films,[8] and loved the "exciting and immensely romantic" script, which reminded him of Lost Horizon. His assistant played the video games and gave the director key details.[9] Mechner, in writing the script, re-conceived the storyline to shift the perspective from the interactive one experienced by video gamers to the non-interactive experience by film audiences. The screenwriter left out elements of the Prince of Persia video games Warrior Within and The Two Thrones and did not anticipate including these elements in the film's possible sequels.[4]

When filming began, the film's release date was postponed to May 28, 2010, with the studio seeking enough time for the post-production process in designing the film's special effects. The profit margin on the Pirates of the Caribbean films was compromised by overspending as special effects teams rushed to complete the films for their release dates.[10] Variety also ascribed the postponement to avoiding the potential 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike so the studio could ensure that the film leads to a "mega-franchise" similar to its successful Pirates of the Caribbean series.[11] Other reasons for the release date change were that the film was originally scheduled a week before Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Disney needed more time to co-ordinate its marketing campaign.[12] Gyllenhaal claims he "over-prepared"[13] for the role, gaining five or six pounds of muscle.[13] The actor says, "I never knew how much they were going to ask me to do, so I just made sure I'd be hopefully able to do anything."[13] Gemma Arterton was announced to play the role of protagonist Tamina,[12] and Arterton reported she practiced horse back riding in Madrid before filming.[14] Ben Kingsley was to portray the film's antagonist, Nizam.[15] Alfred Molina was to portray a character named Sheik Amar, who becomes a mentor to the prince.[16] Toby Kebbell was to play Prince Garsiv, Dastan's brother and head of the Persian army.[17] Richard Coyle was cast as the eldest brother Crown prince Tus and William Foster was cast as young Dastan based on his experience in parkour. The leading characters of the film all speak with recognisably English accents for some reason.


In March 2008, director Newell selected Morocco as a shooting location for Prince of Persia and also planned to film in Pinewood Studios. Production was scheduled to begin in mid-June 2008.[18] By May 2008, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were cast into the lead roles. With a new script by Jordan Mechner, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, and Boaz Yakin, filming began in July 2008 in Morocco as well as London.[12] Eight weeks were spent in Morocco before the first unit moved to Pinewood.[13] Unlike other Disney films being made at the time, filming was not done in three dimensions, nor was the film converted into 3-D during post production.[19]


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Soundtrack album by Harry Gregson-Williams
Released May 17, 2010
Genre Film score
Length 66:26
Label Walt Disney
Producer Hans Zimmer

Alanis Morissette composed the theme song for the film, named "I Remain".[20] The score was written by composer Harry Gregson-Williams.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "The Prince of Persia"   5:20
2. "Raid on Alamut"   6:32
3. "Tamina Unveiled"   2:34
4. "The King and His Sons"   2:59
5. "Dastan and Tamina Escape"   4:31
6. "Journey Through the Desert"   2:55
7. "Ostrich Race"   0:59
8. "Running from Sheikh Amar [sic]"   3:27
9. "Trusting Nizam"   4:37
10. "Visions of Death"   1:46
11. "So, You're Going to Help Me?"   2:20
12. "The Oasis Ambush"   1:54
13. "Hassansin Attack"   2:59
14. "Return to Alamut"   3:05
15. "No Ordinary Dagger"   4:39
16. "The Passages"   3:09
17. "The Sands of Time"   3:58
18. "Destiny"   3:38
19. "I Remain" (performed by Alanis Morissette, written by Alanis Morissette and Mike Elizondo) 4:57
Total length:



Disney's marketing strategy included a step by step release of the film. Prince of Persia was released first in Europe, with its world premiere held in Westfield, London, UK on May 9 then premiered on May 19, 2010 in Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and on May 20 in Germany.[21] It was released on May 21 in the United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland, and Turkey. It was released in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines on May 27. The film was not released in the United States until May 28 to try to profit from the potentially higher audience on Memorial Day weekend. It was also released in Ghana, India, Romania and Nigeria on May 28.


Mechner, Gyllenhaal, Bruckheimer, and Newell at a panel promoting the film at WonderCon 2010.

The poster made its debut as a background prop in a 2009 Bruckheimer production, Confessions of a Shopaholic, similar to how Warner Bros. incorporated poster for various developed but never filmed projects based on their comic characters in I Am Legend.[22] The week of Confessions of a Shopaholic’s release, Disney signed a merchandising deal with Lego for the film.[23]

Disney released merchandise such as action figures, LEGO sets, costumes and a replica Dagger of Time. It also released a graphic novel called Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm, which will act as a prequel to the film. Also, a video game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal titled Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and was released alongside the film; however, the game's story is unrelated to the film, and instead takes place between the first two games in the Sands of Time trilogy.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released a single-disc DVD, a single-disc Blu-ray Disc, and a 3-disc Blu-ray combo-pack in the US on September 14, 2010.[24][25] The DVD landed in the number one spot on the US DVD sales chart, with 664,041 units sold within the first week and 1,623,361 units in total (equal to $33,941,976) as of March 13, 2011.[26]

In the UK, it opened at number one on the DVD and Blu-ray charts during its first week.[27] In Germany, too, the DVD landed No. 1 on the country's DVD chart.[28]


Critical response[edit]

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time holds a 36% "rotten" rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 5/10.[29] The critical consensus is: "It doesn't offer much in the way of substance, but Prince of Persia is a suitably entertaining swashbuckler—and a substantial improvement over most video game adaptations."[29] Another review aggregate, Metacritic, which calculates an average rating based on reviews from mainstream critics, gave a score of 50/100.[30] Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "The two leads are not inspired. Jake Gyllenhaal could make the cover of a muscle mag, but he plays Dastan as if harboring Spider-Man's doubts and insecurities."[31] Film critic David Roark of Relevant Magazine, on the other hand, gave the film a positive review and wrote: "Newell has unquestionably accomplished what he set out to do, which is ridiculous, silly and forgettable, but amusing nonetheless."[32]

Box office[edit]

The film which—according to Disney and Bruckheimer—was supposed to be "the new Pirates of the Caribbean", debuted #3 at the U.S. box office behind Shrek Forever After and Sex and the City 2 with $30.1 million in its first 3-day weekend of release. It is the third highest opening for a video game adaptation, behind Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Pokémon: The First Movie. During Memorial Day, it surpassed Sex and the City 2 to gross $37,813,075 for the 4-day weekend and finish in second place.

Internationally, the film grossed an estimated $18 million in its first weekend (before its US release), when it opened in 19 major European countries.[33] Prince of Persia debuted at #1 in these countries, except the United Kingdom where it lost the top spot to StreetDance 3D. A week later the film was released in the rest of the world and it grossed an estimated $61.6 million in total from 47 countries and $30.1 million in North America,[34] becoming the leader of the worldwide box office with $91,695,259, while reaching the #1 spot in 41 of the 47 countries.[35]

The film has ultimately earned $90,759,676 in the United States and Canada and $244,394,967 in other countries, for a total worldwide gross of $335,154,643 and has become the highest-grossing video-game adaptation ever worldwide, overtaking previous record holder Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat before it, but was not successful in the United States and failed to gross its budget there.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)". Box Office Mojo (Internet Movie Database). Retrieved August 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ Bing, Jonathan; Cathy Dunkley (March 3, 2004). "Jerry preps game plan for 'Sands'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Vejvoda, Jim (July 25, 2008). "SDCC 08: Mechner Talks Persia Movie". IGN (News Corporation). Retrieved August 6, 2008. 
  5. ^ Gardner, Chris (February 26, 2006). "Scribe goes into action for Disney". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (July 13, 2007). "Hollywood films' dating game". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael (November 7, 2007). "Disney, Bruckheimer talking 'Prince'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Prince of Persia Movie Update". ReelzChannel (Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation). November 11, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  9. ^ Topel, Fred (November 12, 2007). "Mike Newell Drops Early Prince of Persia Details!". Rotten Tomatoes (News Corporation). Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  10. ^ Hill, Jim (August 10, 2008). "Monday Mouse Watch: Why did Disney push back "Prince of Persia"?". Jim Hill Media (LLC). Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  11. ^ McClintock, Pamela (July 31, 2008). "Disney pushes 'Persia' to 2010". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved August 1, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c Graser, Marc (May 20, 2008). "Jake Gyllenhaal is Disney's 'Prince'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Jake Gyllenhaal as 'the Prince of Persia'". Entertainment Tonight (CBS Television Distribution). November 13, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2008. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Gemma Arterton Interview". L.P. November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008. 
  15. ^ Graser, Marc (June 5, 2008). "Ben Kingsley joins 'Prince of Persia'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  16. ^ Fleming, Michael (June 2, 2008). "Alfred Molina joins 'Prince of Persia'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  17. ^ Floyd, Bobbie. "Toby Kebbell interview". Little White Lies. Retrieved January 8, 2009. [dead link]
  18. ^ Jaafar, Ali (March 6, 2008). "Newell takes 'Persia' to Morocco". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Marques, Diego (April 1, 2010). "Alanis Morissette grava música para o filme "Prince of Persia", ouça" (in French). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  21. ^ Prince of Persia on, Prince of Persia on
  22. ^ "Jerry Bruckheimer Debuts ‘Prince of Persia’ Poster Within His Own Film, ‘Confessions Of A Shopaholic". MTV Movies Blog (Viacom). January 25, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Disney and LEGO Group Announce Strategic Licensing Relationship". PR Newswire. February 15, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2009. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "ARCHIVE CHART". Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times reviews at Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  30. ^ "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times reviews at". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  31. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time :: :: Reviews". (Sun-Time Media Group). Retrieved May 28, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times Review". Relevant Magazine. 
  33. ^ "'Prince of Persia' weaker than hoped for in foreign debut". Los Angeles Times. May 24, 2010. 
  34. ^ UPDATE 2-'Sex' less scintillating at box office
  35. ^ "'Prince' reigns over 'Sex' and 'Shrek' worldwide". The Independent (London). May 31, 2010. 

External links[edit]