Saudi Arabia’s first cinema chain opened its doors last week.
The 15-screen multiplex by Muvi Cinemas is now open at Jeddah’s Mall of Arabia, run exclusively by Saudi nationals.
The chain plans a quick expansion across the kingdom, with four more cinemas set to open by the end of the year.
Next Generation, the company which owns and operates Muvi Cinemas, was set up earlier this year in Riyadh. The company has a deal with Arabian Centres to expand into a number of lifestyle centres across the kingdom over the next 24 months, with a total of 250 screens.
Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, the Minister of Media for Saudi Arabia, was present at the opening. “It is truly something to be proud of from the first Saudi cinematic company,” he later wrote in a Tweet. “I was awed with the level of preparation I saw today! You did an amazing job!"
Saudi’s ban on cinema’s was lifted in 2018 as part of a number of far-reaching reforms across the kingdom.
American chain AMC Entertainment was the first cinema to operate in Saudi in 35 years when it reopened its doors last April.
The move to allow movie theatres opens up a domestic market expected to be worth up to $1bn in annual box-office sales.