There was a perpetual ban on cinemas for nearly three decades in Saudi Arabia. But, now things are changing. After three decades the first cinema is opening in Riyadh on the 18th of April 2018, according to the authorities. The lifting of the ban on cinemas is a part of Saudi’s new government’s far reaching liberalization drive.
US giant AMC Entertainment has been granted the first license to operate cinemas in the country, Saudi state media says that the US giant is expected to open 40 cinemas across 15 Saudi cities over the next five years. “AMC plans to open the kingdom’s first cinema theatre in Riyadh on April 18,” This statement was given by the information ministry’s Centre for International Communication. This news comes after US AMC Entertainment signed a non-binding agreement in December with Saudi Arabia’s vast Public Investment Fund to build and operate cinemas all across the kingdom.
“The granting of the first license marks the opening of very significant opportunities for exhibitors,” Information Minister Awwad Alawwad quoted this in his statement, he further said, “The Saudi market is very large, with the majority of the population… eager to watch their favorite films here at home.”
AMC is going to face a tough competition from others including Dubai-based VOX Cinemas, which is one of the leading operators in the Middle East.
According to news, the first film to be screened in Riyadh after a 35 year ban will be the latest block buster Black Panther.