c-cinema-RTX2DM4H-Regis Duvignau

Banned for more than three decades, cinemas will open again in Saudi Arabia

35 years

Saudi Arabia is re-opening itself to the world of cinema, lifting a ban on movie theaters that has been in place since the 1980s. Venues could be open as early as March.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Regis Duvignau
c-cinema-RTX2DM4H-Regis Duvignau
35 years

The liberalizing reforms by Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman also included the end of the ban on women drivers in September.

c-cinema-RTX2DM4H-Regis Duvignau
35 years

The movie sector in the country is young. The first Saudi production, Keif al Hal, which was shot in Dubai, was released in 2006. The first Saudi movie shot inside the country, Wadjda, was released in 2012.

c-cinema-RTX2DM4H-Regis Duvignau
35 years

But the government want the movie sector to grow quickly, with 300 cinemas by 2030. It claims the new venues will create 30,000 jobs and produce over 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) in box office revenue.

c-cinema-RTX2DM4H-Regis Duvignau
35 years

But movies will still be censored. Given that the Ikea catalog was forced to erase women from its Saudi catalogs, studios will almost certainly have to make significant cuts to show their movies there.

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