Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

Saudi cinema-goers at a VOX movie theater in Riyadh Park Mall. (AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

  • Saudi conference study reveals 140 cinemas planned for Kingdom creating estimated 5,300 jobs
  • One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure

JEDDAH: Investment in building new cinemas in Saudi Arabia was expected to top SR5 billion ($1.33 billion) during 2020, according to latest figures.

Data published ahead of the Cinema Build KSA 2020 conference, taking place at the Fairmont hotel in Riyadh on Feb. 19 to 20, revealed that 140 movie theaters were planned to open in 30 malls throughout the Kingdom, creating more than 5,300 job opportunities.

The Saudi cinema industry would see enormous growth and was set to become the leader in the region having already gained attention from stakeholders around the globe, research from conference partner Great Minds Group predicted.

With a total of 1,323 screens planned for the country, demand for materials and resources to build cinemas has increased dramatically.

The Cinema Build KSA report revealed that an estimated 158,760 cinema seats and more than 5,953,500 square feet of carpet would be required to realize this year’s growth plans, in addition to more than 18,852,750 square feet of gypsum boards, wall panels, and specialist ceiling materials and 1,250 air-handling units.

One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure, considering that Saudi nationals spent about $30 billion annually on tourism and entertainment outside the Kingdom.

Supporting and enhancing the fast-growing cinema sector would not only recover Saudi investments abroad but would also create more than 5,314 job opportunities in 2020 in the Saudi market, according to the Cinema Build KSA report.

Saudi economist, Talaat Hafez, told Arab News: “People here, whether Saudi or expat, are hungry for the Kingdom’s entertainment industry to develop and prove that it can compete not only with its neighbors and GCC countries but with the West, and internationally. 

“The entertainment industry has shown significant growth in no time at all, along with other sectors such as tourism, information technology, cybersecurity, and logistics.”

The Saudi cinema industry was predicted to see enormous growth and being the largest gathering of cinema stakeholders in the Kingdom, Cinema Build KSA 2020 aims to serve as a learning center for building world-class film theaters.

The event is organized by Eyes of Cities in association with the Great Minds Group. Boasting more than 300 attendees, at least 30 sponsors and exhibitors, and 25 international speakers, the second annual conference will cover a broader aspect of the burgeoning cinema industry in the Kingdom.


Saudi air defense forces intercept Houthi ballistic missiles 

Updated 21 February 2020

Saudi air defense forces intercept Houthi ballistic missiles 

RIYADH: Saudi air defense forces shot down ballistic missiles launched by the Iran-backed Houthi "terrorists"  towards civilian areas in the Kingdom, the Coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government said on Friday.

The missiles were intercepted at 12:30 a.m. after they were launched toward cities in Saudi Arabia, Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). 

"The missiles were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians, which is a flagrant defiance of the International Humanitarian Law," the statement said.

It did not mentioned which cities were targeted. 

Yemen's capital, Sanaa "has become a Houthi militia assembly, installation and launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the Kingdom. The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has exercised extreme prudence and self-restraint in dealing with the violations of the Houthi militia through launching ballistic missiles, UAVs and Remote Controlled exploding boats.

"The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will continue to apply and implement all decisive and rigorous measures, in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law, to protect Coalition States’ nationals and expatriates from such barbaric attacks,” the statement said.