AMC has received the first license to operate a movie theater in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the Saudi Culture and Information Ministry, more licenses will be granted in the coming weeks.
Skyline of Saudi capital, Riyadh Photo Credit: EPA
A Saudi news agency reported this week that the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information granted the first license to operate a movie theater on Wednesday. The first license was granted to AMC, an American company and the largest operator of movie theaters in the world. The ministry stated that this provides a unique new opportunity for investors in the country, hoping this move would fuel further growth. According to the ministry, more licenses for movie theaters will be granted in the coming weeks.
As of now, the ministry stated that they are developing a deal with AMC to build around 40 movie theaters in 15 Saudi cities, but the government is already seeking to diversify investments through a variety of movie theater providers. This also comes in the wake of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s trip to the United States and a meeting with several high-level media personalities including executives from Disney.
In Los Angeles, a summit on the future of film in Saudi Arabia is being held by Saudi and American stakeholders. The Saudi ministry is also using this time to scout members for the newly-established Saudi National Film Board, designed to promote the spread of film-making culture in the kingdom. These changes come after over 30 years of a ban on cinemas in Saudi Arabia at a time when the reforms target the nation’s young population. The ministry’s statement indicated that Saudi youth will now be able to watch their favorite movies within their own country.
The Saudi General Entertainment Authority tweeted about the summit:
The chairman of GEA Mr.Ahmed Al-Khateeb: The Kingdom’s population with the ages of 30 and younger will reaches 70% of the total population, which will contribute to increase in the expenditure on the entertainment sector
— هيئة الترفيه (@GEA_SA) April 4, 2018