Vox Cinemas wins second license to operate movie theaters in KSA

Vox Cinemas has received its second license to operate cinemas in Saudi Arabia.
Updated 25 April 2018

Vox Cinemas wins second license to operate movie theaters in KSA

  • Majid Al Futtaim to invest SR2 billion to open 600 screens and provide 3,000 jobs in the next five years
  • Vox Cinemas is the largest cinema operator in the MENA region

JEDDAH: Vox Cinemas, a subsidiary of Majid Al-Futtaim, won the second license to operate cinemas in the Kingdom.

The company received the license from the Minister of Culture and Information and Chairman of the General Authority for Audiovisual Media, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad.

Majid Al-Futtaim will invest SR2 billion to open 600 screens and provide 3,000 jobs in the next five years.

This will help achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision when it comes to diversifying the economy and local production.

Vox Cinemas is the largest cinema operator in the MENA region and the leading regional cinema operator in the Kingdom.

Majid Al-Futtaim is planning on opening its first movie theater in the Kingdom during the coming days. It will be in Riyadh Park Mall within the largest Magic Planet Family Entertainment Center in the region.

It consists of four screens, including the first IMAX screen for young people's movies and VOX KIDS, which is dedicated to children’s entertainment.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Vox Cinemas is part of the Al-Futtaim Group. It is in fact part of Majid Al-Futtaim. The above text has been amended to reflect this.


Young Saudi’s opera singing journey leads him to Italy

Mohammed Al-Zahrani’s adventure started in school, where a classmate encouraged him to refine his talent. (Supplied)
Updated 43 min 36 sec ago

Young Saudi’s opera singing journey leads him to Italy

  • Performer wants to be as famous as Pavarotti

JEDDAH: Mohammed Al-Zahrani has faced down many challenges while pursuing his dream to be an opera singer and represent Saudi Arabia on the world stage, and his journey has led him to Italy, where he is living in Rome and learning the language.

“I have encountered many social and traditional barriers but I luckily managed to overcome those obstacles,” the 23-year-old performing artist told Arab News.
“The objection of my family, relatives and friends was a result of their unawareness about other cultures. They are very strict and conservative people who adhere to customs and traditions.” But their stance has softened since he landed in Europe. “At such a young age, I am living far away from my own country and family just to represent my country the best way I can.”
His adventure started in school, where a classmate heard him sing and encouraged him to refine his talent. It was then that he believed he could be an international opera singer. “That was a dream and I am now working on that dream.”
The Italians were friendly and welcoming, he said, and his cultural and religious background has never proved to be an issue. They were polite and nice, regarding him as an ambitious and talented person who shared their love of art.
“I want to help spread this beautiful art in Saudi Arabia and change our people’s perception about all kinds of Western arts. Also, I would like to open an opera house in my country and lend a hand to those willing to learn classical arts.”
Al-Zahrani has joined the Coro Polifonico Musica Creator choir. He said that the story began when he was waiting for a train in Rome and saw a man playing piano at the station.

I have encountered many social and traditional barriers but I luckily managed to overcome those obstacles.

Mohammed Al-Zahrani, Performer

“I noticed that the music he was playing was familiar. I approached him and began to sing. I was just trying to pass time until the train arrived. It turned out that one of the passengers was a member of the choir. She asked for my phone number and arranged a meeting with the director of the choir.”
The director listened to Al-Zahrani sing a few days later and expressed her interest in his voice.
“She immediately chose me as a solo singer in the choir and insisted I take part in an upcoming concert. I remember I was playing an assisting role to the famous singer Francesco Sartori.”
Al-Zahrani is a fan of famous opera singers and wants to become as great as they are one day, listing Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli as his favorites.
But some Saudis have disagreed with Al-Zahrani’s decision to drop out of college — he spent one year at King Abdul Aziz University — saying he has put his future at risk.
“Wherever you go, there are always people with you and those who are against you. Personally, I will do what I am convinced with no matter what their opinions are,” he said.
Al-Zahrani performed at Riyadh Season and has been invited to perform in other Saudi festivals, including the coming Jeddah Season. “No matter what support I receive or individual successes I make, I will always be in need of my country’s encouragement
and support.”
Saudi Arabia’s first opera house is set to open in Jeddah, the General Entertainment Authority announced last February. It is scheduled for completion in 2022.