Saudi Arabia to Reduce Cinema License Fees to Increase Economic Contribution

The Saudi government is working to stimulate the cinema sector and increase its contribution to the economy. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Saudi government is working to stimulate the cinema sector and increase its contribution to the economy. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia to Reduce Cinema License Fees to Increase Economic Contribution

The Saudi government is working to stimulate the cinema sector and increase its contribution to the economy. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Saudi government is working to stimulate the cinema sector and increase its contribution to the economy. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Saudi government has presented a package of incentive programs to enhance the sustainability of the cinema sector, which includes reducing the financial fees for operating licenses for permanent and temporary cinemas, in a move that increases the economic contribution of companies and stimulates greater entry of the private sector into the entertainment field.

Since the opening of the first movie theater in the Kingdom in April 2018 until March 2024, Saudi cinema achieved revenues of about SAR 3.7 billion ($986 million), while over 61 million tickets have been sold, revealed recent figures from the General Authority for Media Regulation.

CEO of the Saudi Film Commission Engineer Abdullah Al-Qahtani stressed the continued efforts to stimulate the film industry by encouraging private sector companies operating cinemas to offer discounts and promotions to the public with the aim of promoting film culture.

He explained that the reduction of the financial fees for cinema licenses and ticket prices was in line with the international average, and to support cinema companies in the sustainability and growth of the sector.

Specialists told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Film Commission’s decision was aimed at boosting the role of the private sector and enhancing its sustainability, which would contribute to reducing ticket prices and attracting more cinemagoers.

Former head of the National Entertainment Committee at the Federation of Saudi Chambers, and investor in the entertainment sector Al-Waleed Al-Baltan said the decision will encourage companies to enter the Saudi market and add more cinema screens, given the large demand from the public.

The move supports the capabilities of the private sector and allows it to offer competitive prices for movie tickets and promotions, which boosts the economic contribution of these companies, he underlined.

General Manager and CEO of Abdul Mohsen Al Hokair Company Majed Al Hokair explained that companies operating in the cinema sector will provide affordable ticket prices.

Since its establishment in 2020, the Saudi Film Commission has worked to promote the film sector in the Kingdom, by developing the relevant infrastructure and regulatory framework, encourage financing and investment, ensure the sector’s access to local talent, stimulate local production, and attract international production.



Brad Pitt’s F1 Movie Set for Release in June 2025

Brad Pitt. (AFP)
Brad Pitt. (AFP)
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Brad Pitt’s F1 Movie Set for Release in June 2025

Brad Pitt. (AFP)
Brad Pitt. (AFP)

Brad Pitt's as-yet unnamed Formula One movie will be released globally on June 25 next year, with a North American debut two days later, F1 and Apple Original Films announced on Tuesday.

The film is being made with the cooperation of teams and drivers and directed by Joseph Kosinski, whose "Top Gun: Maverick" grossed $1.49 billion worldwide, with Jerry Bruckheimer as producer.

It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in cinemas and IMAX.

Seven-times F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is a co-producer, with filming starting last year and continuing during selected grand prix weekends this season.

The production team have had a garage and pitwall stand as a fictional 11th "APX GP" team.

The plot sees Pitt, who is 60 years old in real life, star as a former driver making a Formula One comeback alongside Damson Idris, who plays his rookie team mate, at APX.

Other cast members include Academy Award winner Javier Bardem and best supporting actress nominee Kerry Condon.

Formula One said production of the movie would complete at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.

The sport is hoping the movie cements the appeal of the Netflix docu-series "Drive to Survive" that has boosted Formula One's popularity and growth worldwide and particularly in the key US market.

Formula One now has three US races in Austin, Miami and Las Vegas.

"We've already seen the great work and impact of the Netflix show and I think this will take it to new heights beyond that," Mercedes driver Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari at the end of the season, said last year.