Saudi Arabia announces it will re-open cinemas in 2018

Saudi Arabia announces it will re-open cinemas in 2018

Another historic change in the Kingdom

Text: Maddison Glendinning

Image: Reuters

A historic announcement has been made in Saudi Arabia today with the government announcing it will allow cinemas back into the Kingdom after almost 35 years. Here are the details...

Following on from a string of recent, positive changes (such as allowing women to drive from June 2018) in the Kingdom, the government of Saudi Arabia has announced it will allow cinemas to be built within the country, lifting the ban that has existed since the 1980s.

The Ministry of Culture and Information has said that it will begin to issue licenses at once, in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030. According to the statement, it is expected that there will be over 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens by that same year. 

The ministry confirmed the first cinemas will open in March 2018, explaining in a statement that the move was "central to the government's programme to encourage an open and rich domestic culture for Saudis." Awwad Alawwad, the Culture Minister, added that the move will signal siginificant economic and cultural growth within the country. "Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification; by developing the broader cultural sector we will create new employment and training opportunities, as well as enriching the Kingdom's entertainment options." 

Now, read how the Saudi art scene has made an impact in the region and beyond in Hatem Alakeel's latest column.