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Cinemas Back in Saudi Arabia

Cinemas Back in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017 - 08:00
Saudi women attend a rare cinema screening at a film festival in Riyadh in October 2017. (AFP)

After nearly four decades of closure, Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that it would allow Cinemas to be opened and said it would start approving licenses for those wishing to be part of the sector.

The Ministry of Culture and Information approved on Monday starting the process for licensing cinemas in Saudi Arabia.

Licensing will begin after readying the show regulations and rules in public places within a period not exceeding 90 days.

"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.

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.

The ministry seeks to boost cultural and media activities and hopes that this step will stimulate growth and economic diversification by developing the economy of the cultural and media sector as a whole, and providing job opportunities in new areas for Saudis and the possibility of educating and training them to acquire new skills.

UAE based Majid Al Futtaim and Vox Cinemas said Saudi Arabia's re-opening of cinemas in line with the 2030 Vision will contribute providing a huge number of jobs, as well as in supporting the growth of local creative sectors throughout the country.

The two companies confirmed their commitment to work with the Saudi government and said they look forward to introduce their movie theatres to Saudi Arabia 'in the months and years ahead.'

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