United Kingdom-headquartered Vue International plans to build 30 cinema halls in Saudi Arabia, where a 35-year-long ban on commercial theatres was lifted recently, Deadline reported. The cinema halls will be opened over the next three years in collaboration with real estate group Abdulmohsin Al Hokair Holding.
Commercial cinema halls were banned in the West Asian country in the early 1980s as it adopted an ultra-conservative form of Islam. In December, Saudi Arabia announced the revocation of the ban as part of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud’s Vision 2030 programme to boost the country’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil. Saudi Arabia held its first official public screenings in January with Sony’s The Emoji Movie and DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
Vue currently operates 212 cinema halls out of 10 countries. “This is a huge moment in the history of global cinema development for the exhibition industry and we are honoured to be partnering with such a well regarded and prestigious operator,” Vue founder Tim Richards told Deadline about the Saudia Arbia deal. “We are delighted to have been chosen to lead in the development of world-class cinemas and the big screen experience in Saudi Arabia.”