Vision expands as Saudi cinemas reopen in 2018

Saudis are rejoicing the government’s decision to allowing opening cinemas across the Kingdom. Earlier this year, musical concerts were allowed in the Kingdom to boost entertainment activities. In this file photo dated Dec. 3, Saudis watch composer Yanni performance at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh. (Reuters)
Updated 27 December 2017
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Vision expands as Saudi cinemas reopen in 2018

JEDDAH: On Dec. 11, the Ministry of Culture and Information announced that commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as early as March 2018.
And the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), has started the process for granting licenses to cinemas in the Kingdom.
Officials from the board of GCAM stressed that all cinematic shows will be selected to match cultural and social values, and display entertainment content that is useful and purposeful and does not violate the Kingdom’s principles and ethics.
The historic announcement to lift the ban on cinemas in Saudi Arabia was celebrated by the public as they will no longer have to travel to Bahrain and the UAE to go to the movies.
Lack of cinemas in the Kingdom, according to one report, leads to 35,000 Saudis traveling daily to neighboring Bahrain where they spend an average of SR1,200 ($320) a day to see movies.
The move will create competition between cinema chains in the Middle East to control the Saudi cinema market as the Odeon chain will face stiff competition from Dubai-based VOX Cinemas, the leading operator in the Gulf and Middle East with more than 300 screens.
The world’s biggest cinema chains are coming to Saudi Arabia. AMC, which operates 11,000 screens mainly in the US and Europe, announced a joint venture with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
Saudi Arabia has the greatest malls in the Middle East offering all forms of entertainment, and after the announcement mall operators across the Kingdom began to create space and convert empty units into theaters to be ready for use within the next six months.
Saudi Arabia used to have cinemas to accommodate the influx of European workers at Saudi Aramco. Thirty-five years ago, due to religious activism, this changed due to strict religious bans.
The Saudi cinema market revealed that ticket prices are expected to start from SR30-45. Profits are expected to reach SR100,000,000 annually.
Many filmmakers and social media figures, directors, producers and actors are enthusiastic over the opening up of the Kingdom.
Many noted the importance of establishing institutions in the country to improve the skills of talented Saudi filmmakers, and how they could contribute and support the future of filmmaking and change stereotypical views about Saudi Arabia.


Two Holy Mosques program receives international award

The Two Holy Mosques program has received the Sharjah International Cultural Heritage award for its achievements. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Two Holy Mosques program receives international award

  • The state adopted the program presented by the SCTH four years ago
  • King Salman’s initiative to care for cultural heritage is one of the outputs presented by the SCTH

RIYADH: The Two Holy Mosques program to care for the Kingdom’s cultural heritage has received the Sharjah International Cultural Heritage award for its achievements.
It was described as an unprecedented national program sponsoring projects and efforts related to all aspects of national heritage.
King Salman’s initiative to care for cultural heritage is one of the outputs presented by the SCTH, sponsored and financed by the country, and it is being carried out as part of the important initiatives of Saudi Vision 2030 with more than SR5 billion ($1.3 billion) allocated in the current phase. The initiative includes 10 courses, each under implementation consisting of a number of main projects that amount to more than 330 in total.
The state adopted the program presented by the SCTH four years ago and financed within the National Transformation Program with more than SR4 billion ($1 billion).
The program includes the establishment of 18 museums in the Kingdom, 80 heritage sites and opening them to visitors, the restoration of 18 villages and traditional towns to visitors.