December 11, 2017 - 14:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Cinemas are expected to return to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 35 years. The Kingdom – undergoing seismic changes under new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – made the announcement Monday, December 11, The Hollywood Reporter says.
"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.”
Many insiders working in Saudi Arabia indicated that this move had been widely expected, with investors already having built cinemas within new developments in anticipation of the official announcement.
“This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the kingdom,” Alawwad added. "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, as well as [enrich] the kingdom’s entertainment options.”
More details are expected in the coming weeks.