The Ministry of Culture and Information said on Monday that the process for licensing cinemas in Saudi Arabia has started.
"As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom," Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad said in a statement.
"We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018,” the minister added.
Alawwad stressed that "opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification."
"By developing the broader cultural sector we will create new employment and training opportunities," he said.
The ministry said the content of the films will be monitored in line with the Kingdom’s media policy.
The cinema industry is expected to contribute over 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) to the economy and create 30,000 permanent jobs by 2030.
More details of licensing and regulations will be announced over the next few weeks.