Cinema giant to pump $500m into building 600 screens in Saudi Arabia by 2023

VOX aims to have 110 screens operating in the Kingdom by the end of the year. (AN photo)
Updated 12 March 2019

Cinema giant to pump $500m into building 600 screens in Saudi Arabia by 2023

  • VOX Cinemas on Wednesday got the reels in motion at its latest movie theater in Al-Qasr Mall

RIYADH: Shoppers in the Saudi capital will now be able to take in a flick after the opening of another cinema in the city.

And the entertainment giant behind the project has revealed it plans to pump more than $500 million into building 600 screens in the Kingdom by 2023.

VOX Cinemas on Wednesday got the reels in motion at its latest movie theater in Al-Qasr Mall. The 15-screen complex, which can seat a total of 1,294 film fans, is the second VOX cinema to open in Riyadh (the first being in Riyadh Park) and the third in the Kingdom (the other being in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall).

The much-anticipated opening of the Al-Qasr movie house brings the number of big screens in Saudi Arabia to 31. However, VOX has big plans for more to come.

Mohamed Al-Hashemi, VOX’s country manager for Saudi Arabia, told Arab News: “The cinema industry in Saudi has seen a good start, and the market reaction has been excellent. We are also very pleased at the support we have received from the government so far, in everything from operating, to licensing and expansion.

“The concept of entertainment-plus-cinema is one we are trying to introduce to the market, and we have been pleased with the results so far. Audiences need a quality entertainment experience, and we can offer that.”

Al-Qasr offers a KIDS Theater and MAX screen, plus a Nutella bar. KIDS is a unique cinema concept where children and parents can watch the latest animation, action and adventure films in friendly, colorful surroundings.

In addition, the Al-Qasr complex features an 8-lane bowling alley, two of them designated for families, which offer customized avatars and on-screen animations.

Cinemagoers attending the Wednesday opening there were able to choose from a variety of movies including the newly released “Captain Marvel” and slightly older fantasy adventure film “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

Al-Hashemi said VOX aims to have 110 screens operating in the Kingdom by the end of the year. He said more locations are slated to open in the cities of Dammam, Tabuk, and Taif.

The company intends to invest more than $500 million on building 600 screens in the next four years.

Residents in Dammam will be next in line to get in on the Saudi cinema experience, with a multiplex scheduled to open there in June. 

Two more 8-screen cinemas are also slated to open in Riyadh in the coming 30 days; one at The Roof, a high-end mall, alongside several upmarket restaurants and another Nutella bar; and one in Kingdom Tower, which will feature a luxury cinema experience.

Tickets currently range in price from SR50 to SR80 ($13 to $21) and can be purchased via VOX’s website or app.


Saudi Arabia deserves praise for best Hajj arrangements

Muslim pilgrims leave after offering noon prayers outside the Namirah mosque on Arafat Mountain, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP)
Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi Arabia deserves praise for best Hajj arrangements

  • Presence of 2.6 million Indian expats in Saudi Arabia boosts bilateral ties

On the occasion of India’s 71st Republic Day, I extend my best wishes to my fellow Indian citizens in the western region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations which reflect centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties.
Visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 and in October 2019 plus the exchanges of other high-level visits have further strengthened the warm relations between the two countries.
As our prime minister said during his visit in October 2019, India would work hand-in-hand with Saudi Arabia on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan.  
The presence of over 2.6 million Indian expatriates in the Kingdom has also contributed immensely to the strength of economic and socio-cultural ties between our two nations.
Bilateral trade delegations have also increased in the last few years. Indian business delegations are now a regular feature of trade exhibitions in Jeddah and other parts of the Kingdom. The Indian Consulate in Jeddah works tirelessly and diligently to provide the best possible service to Indian nationals residing in the western region of the Kingdom.
This good service includes reducing to three working days the length of time required for issuing/reissuing passports.
The introduction of an e-visa facility for Saudi nationals has further streamlined visa processing and provides a smooth first step for those wanting to visit India.
The Indian government and the people of India are grateful to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Hajj Minister Dr. Mohammed Benten for making excellent arrangements during Hajj 2019. In that year, 200,000 Indian nationals performed Hajj and more than 650,000 Indians came for Umrah.
The Indian side remains committed to partnering closely with Saudi Arabia and working toward a very successful Hajj 2020.
We sincerely express our gratitude to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi ministries of foreign affairs, labor, interior and the authorities of Jawazat, Tarheel and other concerned agencies who have always provided exemplary assistance to the consulate which has enabled the comfortable stay of the many Indians visiting, living, and working in the Kingdom.


• Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh is India’s consul general in Jeddah.