Cinema’s Are Returning To Saudi Arabia |

Cinema’s Are Returning To Saudi Arabia

Saudi makes another surprising announcement – this time that the big screen is returning to the Kingdom

Posted on

1 October 2017

Last updated on 1 October 2017
Cinema’s Are Returning To Saudi Arabia

In the latest from a series of surprising announcements in Saudi, the government announced on Thursday, September 28th, 2017 that cinemas will be returning to the Kingdom.

With the exception of one IMAX theatre in Khobar, Saudi Arabia hasn’t had cinemas in the country since the 1980’s.

Religious conservatives saw cinemas as haram (forbidden) and as a political response to an increase in Islamic activism, the government closed all theatres in the Kingdom.

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It is also rumoured that an opera house might be coming to Saudi. This is part of the Vision 2030 reform of Saudi in order to attract more tourist to the Kingdom as well as generate alternative income streams.

Ahmed al-Khatib, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), said conservatives who criticized the reforms were gradually learning that most Saudis, a majority of whom are under 30, wanted these changes and that conservatives could simply opt to stay at home if they did not care for the events.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz has promised to shake-up the cultural scene in the country. Saudi residents are frequently travelling abroad to watch shows, go to the cinema, visit amusement parks and do other things which they cannot do in the Kingdom. They are hoping to regain up to a quarter of approximately $20 billion which is currently being spent overseas by Saudis.

SEE ALSO: Women In Saudi Arabia Will Soon Be Allowed To Drive

This announcement follows after unblocking video calling in the Kingdom, allowing women into a sports stadium for the first time in Saudi history on National day and a Royal decree allowing women to drive as of June 2018.