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Saudi Arabia now has most cinema halls in Middle East

Six years after the reopening of cinemas, the Saudi film industry is showing signs of robust growth.

Last month, the Saudi Film Commission inked a memorandum of understanding with Bona Film Group, a Chinese film producer and distributor. Photo: Collected

 

Saudi Arabia reopened cinemas in April 2018 for the first time in nearly four decades as part of dramatic changes.

According to Saudi media, over the past six years, the number of theatres in the kingdom has reached 66 across 22 cities, the highest in the Arab region.

Around 1,900 films, including 45 Saudi movies, have since been screened at these cinemas, grossing a staggering SR3.7 billion. Some 17,600 million tickets were sold last year alone, reports Gulf News.

Figures apart, Saudi Arabia has recently been a magnet for Arab and foreign filmmakers and actors attending such events as the Red Sea International Film Festival which debuted in December 2021. Last week, Riyadh was the venue for the Gulf Cinema Festival.

The kingdom has, moreover, signed several agreements with other countries and leading corporations in the cinema industry to reach an international audience.

Last month, the Saudi Film Commission inked a memorandum of understanding with Bona Film Group, a Chinese film producer and distributor. The pact envisages cooperation in film distribution including Saudi movies in both countries, training, skill development and negotiations on establishing a joint film production fund.

The government commission also plans to kick off a tour to show Saudi films in five countries.

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