Saudi awards cinema licence to third operator

Al-Rashed plan to open 30 cinemas within three years



Saudi Arabia’s minister of culture and information has awarded the kingdom’s third cinema operator licence to Al-Rashed Empire Cinema Consortium.

The consortium joins US firm AMC Entertainment and UAE malls and retail group Majid Al Futtaim’s Vox Cinemas unit as one of the first new entrants to the market after a government decision to lift a nearly 40-year ban on cinemas at the end of last year.

Read: Saudi cinema launch ends decades-old ban

Al-Rashed is expecting to open 30 cinemas across a number of cities within three years, according to Saudi Press Agency.

This compares to 40 over five years planned by AMC and and a 600-screen goal during the same period for Vox.

Read: UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim opens Saudi’s first IMAX cinema

US entertainment technology firm IMAX, which has partnered with MAF for up to six IMAX screens, said in May there could be up to 100 IMAX screens in the kingdom in the coming decade.

Read: IMAX plans up to 100 Saudi cinema screens

Saudi authorities plan to set up around 350 cinemas with over 2,500 screens by 2030, which they hope will attract nearly $1bn in annual ticket sales.