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Saudi Arabia’s Next Billion Dollar Investment Is Going to Make Film Fans Very Happy

Photographed by Alexi Lubomirski for Vogue Arabia May 2017

Since Saudi Arabia lifted its 35-year old ban on cinemas in December 2017, the demand for more cinemas in the kingdom has been on the rise. On Thursday, April 4, the Saudi government announced that USD35 billion (Dh129 billion) will be invested in building multiplex cinemas and theatres focusing on the cities, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. As per the statement released by General Commission for Audiovisual Media, the body responsible for issuing cinema licenses, Saudi Arabia plans on opening 2,500 screens in the next five years.

In 2018, the American movie theatre chain, AMC Entertainment Holdings opened the kingdom’s first cinema in its capital city, Riyadh. Following this, Vox Cinemas declared its plans last year to invest USD533 million to open 600 theaters in the next five years. These initiatives along with Saudi Arabia’s new industry body, The Red Sea Film Lodge are bound to give the kingdom’s film industry a boost.

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