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Saudi Arabia to open cinemas for first time in 35 years

18:10, Monday, 11 December, 2017
Saudi Arabia to open cinemas for first time in 35 years

Saudi Arabia said that cinemas are expected to open early next year for the first time since their ban in the 1980s.

"As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom," Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad said in a statement.

"We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018.”

The move comes as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which includes a range of economic and social reforms — including allowing women to drive in the kingdom as of June 2018.

“This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the kingdom,” Dr Alawwad said.

“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 [enrich] the kingdom’s entertainment options.”

The General Commission for Audiovisual Media will announce more details on the licensing and regulations in the coming few weeks.

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