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.



RSFF Concludes Milestone Participation in Cannes Film Festival

Members of the public walk in front of the Palais des Festival prior to the 74th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/ Brynn Anderson)
Members of the public walk in front of the Palais des Festival prior to the 74th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/ Brynn Anderson)
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RSFF Concludes Milestone Participation in Cannes Film Festival

Members of the public walk in front of the Palais des Festival prior to the 74th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/ Brynn Anderson)
Members of the public walk in front of the Palais des Festival prior to the 74th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/ Brynn Anderson)

The Red Sea Film Foundation (RSFF), which participated in the recently concluded 77th Cannes Film Festival, played an important role in supporting Arab cinema and promoting it globally, an RSFF press release said.
A notable achievement at the festival was the Saudi film "Norah", directed by Tawfik AlZaidi and supported by the Red Sea Fund. "Norah" made history as the first Saudi film to compete in the prestigious "Un Certain Regard" section, receiving a special jury mention and selling out screenings within hours, according to SPA.

The Egyptian film "The Brink of Dreams", also supported by the Red Sea Fund, directed by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir, won the Golden Eye Award for Best Documentary Film, which it shared with the French film "Ernest Cole: Lost and Found".
According to the release, RSFF has supported unique film projects and emerging talent through programs like Red Sea Fund, Red Sea Souk, and Red Sea Labs. These programs have led cinematic works to gain recognition and awards at international festivals.
One notable film is "Four Daughters" directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.