The MENA Cinema Forum has wrapped and with the event came some very interesting insights – not only for governmental representatives, investors, mall owners and architects – but for anyone who loves going to the movies as well.
The Indian multiplex chain named “Carnival” and Novo Cinemas, which has 11 screens in the UAE and one in Bahrain, took the occasion of the Cinema Forum to announce their plans to open 500 screens over the next five years, with a focus on more remote areas, in order to afford the opportunity of going to the movies to “every person in Saudi Arabia.”
PV Sunil, the managing director of Carnival Cinemas said in an exclusive interview with Arab News, that their aim is to “spread cinemas far and wide, to all the remote locations. Our idea is to move to all these provinces maybe to set up smaller cinema theatres rather than big multiplexes, and to take movies to every person in Saudi Arabia.”
“We are almost in the position of securing the operational license, and we already have the distribution license,” said Sunil. “As soon as we will get the license, we will start the process of multiplexes in Saudi. There is no doubt of the great potential in the country. Anticipation and excitement have led to big business.”
Experts have projected that the cinema market in Saudi Arabia will be worth 1.5 billion USD by the year 2030, with ticket prices averaging around the equivalent of $11–15 (SAR 41–56) and luxury seats around $40 (SAR 150).
But movie fever has taken over and Carnival and Novo are not the only ones with their eyes on this emerging market. Aside from the 500 screens that they plan to open throughout Saudi Arabia, another chain named Lux is scheduled to open 300 screens in 15 cities and VOX has the number 100 in mind. The company AMC is also on board and wants to open 40 cinemas in 15 cities and the Al-Rashed United Group/Empire Cinema plans for another 30 screens.
All in all, there is a projected number of 1,800 new cinema screens expected to be build in the MENA region over the next five years. So no matter if you live in the metropolitan areas or in even the most remote parts of Saudi Arabia, cinema is coming to you.