Lights, camera, action: Gala heralds rebirth of Saudi cinema

Photo showing Saudi Information Minister Awwad Alawwad (centre) placing his right palm on a plastic plinth depicting a star at the AMC cinema in the capital Riyadh before attending the first test screening in over three decades in the Kingdom, April 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 April 2018

Lights, camera, action: Gala heralds rebirth of Saudi cinema

  • Saudi Arabia plans to open nearly 350 cinemas, with more than 2,500 screens, by 2030
  • Movie theaters are expected to contribute more than $24 billion to the Saudi economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030

RIYADH: It was a night to remember: Cinema returned to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with the first major movie screening in 35 years in a spectacular new theater in King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh.
The gala screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther was attended by hundreds of invited guests in the sleek and chic complex — described by AMC cinema chain bosses as “the most beautiful movie theater in the world.”
As the guests took their seats, Princess Reema bint Bandar told Arab News: “It’s a privilege to be here. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the experience I’m having this evening.”
In an official opening ceremony before the movie began, AMC bosses joined Saudi government officials on the stage. Each placed their hand each on a large handprint, triggering a shower of glittering, colorful confetti on the audience. It was a magical moment — just like the movies, in fact.
Paul Hill, the general manager of AMC, told Arab News: “It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be part of the opening It’s a historic achievement. This really will be the place to go.”
The opening was overseen by the Development and Investment Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and a partner with AMC in the new cinema complex.
Dr. Awwad Alawwad, the Saudi Minister of Culture and Information, and Adam Aron, chief executive and president of AMC Entertainment, joined diplomats and industry experts to watch Black Panther in the first in a series of invitation-only screenings during April.
“I know for sure that Saudis are very eager to be able to watch their favorite films here in their own country, as now made possible by Vision 2030,” Dr. Alawwad said before the screening.
“This is a landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society. None of this would be possible without the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
The cinema will open to the public on Friday. “There are some surprises and secrets on how we are promoting it. The tickets will be sold online and there will be more information in 24 hours,” said AMC Vice President Jason Cole.
Three more screens will be added to the cinema complex by September. Saudi Arabia plans to open nearly 350 cinemas, with more than 2,500 screens, by 2030.


Saudi leadership condemns Florida Navy base shooting

Updated 07 December 2019

Saudi leadership condemns Florida Navy base shooting

  • King orders Saudi security agencies to cooperate with US investigators to bring about a speedy resolution to the incident
  • Three people were killed and several injured in the attack at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called US President Donald Trump on Friday to offer his sincere condolences after three Americans were killed during an attack by a Saudi student at a US naval base in Pensacola, Florida.

The king offered his sympathies to the families and friends of the victims and said he prays for the quick recovery of those injured during the attack.

King Salman said the culprit, a Saudi air force trainee, does not represent the Saudi people, “who have utmost respect for the American people.”

King Salman said Saudi Arabia stands by the US in its hour of grief, and that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the gunman, and that this person in no way, shape or form, represents the feelings of the Saudi people.

King Salman ordered Saudi security services to cooperate fully with the relevant American agencies to share all information that will help to reveal the circumstances surrounding the shootings.

Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said: “My deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to the American people, and to the families of those effected by the tragedy that unfolded at Pensacola.”

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar said her thoughts are with the families of those effected by the shooting.

“The Saudi people are united in their condemnation of this crime,” she said. “We stand in solidarity with our American friends during these difficult times.”

 

 

Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the foreign minister, described the shooting as a “heinous crime.”

“The Kingdom expresses its deepest condolences to the families of victims, and to the American people. We salute the bravery of those who neutralized the threat and saved lives,” he said.

 

 

Deputy Minister of Defence Prince Khalid bin Salman also extended his condolences to those effected.

He said that like many Saudi military personnel he was trained in a US military base.
“We used that valuable training to fight side by side with our American allies against terrorism and other threats,” Prince Khalid said on Twitter.

“A large number of Saudi graduates of the Naval Air Station in Pensacola moved on to serve with their US counterparts in battlefronts around the world, helping to safeguard regional and global security. Today's tragic event is strongly condemned by everyone in Saudi Arabia.”