The vice president of the Saudi Sports Authority, Princess Reema Bint Bander Bin Sultan Al Saud, who has built an outstanding profile advocating for social development and women’s right issues have said that she felt great as her country marked the first public screening of a commercial film in more than 35 years.
In a short clip that went viral on Saudi social media on Wednesday evening, she said this great event is a historic moment and she simply cannot fully express how she felt as she watched her son enjoy a movie in the kingdom.
Many commentators have also shared their enthusiasm about the memorable event on social media.
One user said the country have been waiting for this special event to happen for a very long time and now that it is has come true, they shall treasure its sweetness. He also added that the kingdom is making strides, even though it may take long before they can really live life to the fullest.
Another user said that the importance of cinema in Saudi should not be blown out of proportion. The user then noted that in today’s world of technology, with all the movies available on the internet and through satellite, movie theatres do not hold the great importance that they are hyped to be.
The Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Awwad Al Awwad on Wednesday evening joined a mixed crowd of diplomats and industry experts at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh to watch the Black Panther, the 2018 American blockbuster.
The Saudi ministry of culture and information has said that it gave the first cinema operating license earlier this month to the US industry leader AMC Entertainment, which owns the largest network of theaters worldwide. Saudi’s Development and Investment Entertainment Company (DIEC) and AMC will partner up in a collaboration that will see DIEC invest SR10 billion in entertainment projects by 2030.
The decision to allow commercial cinemas to operate in Saudi Arabia is part of the Kingdom’s social and economic reform program under its Vision 2030 blueprint spearheaded by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
Another three screens will open at KAFD’s theatre in the third quarter of 2018. This will represent the beginning of a partnership that would see 40 more AMC Cinemas open in Saudi over the next five years.
The business model behind the cinemas is to allow movie theatres to open up a big domestic market which could bring about more investment and capital in the box office. Many people in the kingdom are under the age of 30, thereby making it the largest potential market for movie-goers in the Arabian Gulf region.
Saudi authorities envisage that there will be 350 cinemas with over 2,500 screens in the kingdom by 2030.