Cinema’s have finally returned to Saudi Arabia after 35-year ban

Cinema’s Have Finally Returned to Saudi Arabia

Saudi had its soft opening for cinemas in the Kingdom after a 35-year long ban

Posted on

23 April 2018

Last updated on 4 August 2019
Cinema’s Have Finally Returned to Saudi Arabia After 35-Year Ban

Saudi Arabia saw its first cinematic screening in the Kingdom on April 20th, 2018 after a 35-year ban on cinemas in the Kingdom. It was announced in December 2017 that cinemas will be returning to the Kingdom as part of Vision 2030 to reform the country and wean it off of their dependency on the income generated from oil.

The Hollywood blockbuster, Black Panther was the first screening at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) theatre in Riyadh. And everyone loved it!

Residents flocked to the cinema with tickets to the first screening being sold out in the first 15-minutes!

Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan Al Saud, the vice president of the Saudi Sports Authority was quoted saying: “This is a historic moment and I simply cannot fully express how elated I am as my son and I watch a movie in Saudi Arabia.”

In previous years residents had to travel to neighbouring countries such as Bahrain or Kuwait if they wanted to watch a film in the cinema, but luckily this is coming to an end now.

The Kingdom’s first cinema operating license was issued to AMC (American Multi-Cinema) , the largest theatre chain in the U.S. Dubai-based VOX Cinemas has in the meantime also acquired a license to start screening films in Saudi Arabia and are planning to open the first multiplex in Saudi.

Another three screens are expected to open by the third quarter of 2018 and a total of 350 cinemas, with a total of 2,500 screens, by 2030. This will make the kingdom the 11th largest theatrical exhibition market in the world and is speculated to generate $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in annual box office receipts.

All the new cinemas will also create a lot of new job opportunities in the Kingdom. Approximately 30,000 permanent jobs and 130,000 temporary positions will be created by 2030.

Here are some of the moments captured of Saudi Arabia’s first public cinematic screening:

A Saudi man looking at the replica of the Lexus which was used in the Black Panther movie

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Todd Albert Nims is an American filmmaker and producer who was born and raised in Saudi

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Besides the movie, there was other fun bits of entertainment as well

The cinema building from outside

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We loved all the quotes from different movies throughout the building

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