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Saudi cinema sector generates close to $1bn in revenue

Vox Cinema at Al Qasr Mall in Riyadh. Shutterstock
Vox Cinema at Al Qasr Mall in Riyadh. Shutterstock
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23 Apr 2024 12:04:48 GMT9
23 Apr 2024 12:04:48 GMT9

Arab News

RIYADH: Just six years after opening its first cinemas, Saudi Arabia’s big screen sector has accumulated SR3.7 billion ($986 million) in revenue, according to government data.  

As stated by the General Authority for Media Regulation, the industry sold over 61 million tickets from April 2018 to March of the current year.  

This period has witnessed the screening of 1,971 films, including 45 local productions, which underscores the burgeoning entertainment sector within the Kingdom. 

This significant growth in this division reflects Saudi Arabia’s rapid adoption of cultural activities, aligning with its Vision 2030 goals to diversify the economy and enhance quality of life. 

Hanaa Al-Omair, president of the Saudi Cinema Association, highlighted the rapid growth of Saudi Arabia’s cinema market, which she described as the most expanding market in the Middle East, according to a report by Saudi Gazette. 

Last year, the production of Saudi cinematic content included about 19 local films, underscoring a positive trajectory for the industry, she added. 

Vision 2030 is driving specific support measures for the entertainment sector, aiming to contribute over $23 billion or 3 percent of gross domestic product and create more than 100,000 jobs by 2030. 

The data also highlights the expansion of cinema infrastructure across the country. 

Currently, Saudi Arabia boasts 66 movie houses with approximately 618 screens and 63,373 seats.  

These facilities are operated by around six companies and are spread across 22 cities, illustrating the widespread accessibility of  entertainment venues in the Kingdom. 

Al-Omair expressed optimism about this trend, suggesting that it confirms the industry is moving in the right direction. 

As part of its effort to boost the Kingdom’s cinematic culture, the association announced earlier last week the release of the first 22 books for the Saudi Cinema Encyclopedia. 

The project aims to release 100 books in its first year, published by Josour Al-Thaqafah Publishing House. 

The first set of releases will be available to the public during the 10th Saudi Film Festival to be held on May 2-9. 

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