Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Cinemas, Twitterati Hails the Decision
Saudi Arabia on Monday declared that public cinemas will now be allowed in the conservative Islam dominated country and the first cinemas will most likely open next year. Commercial cinemas can come back as early as April in the country according to several sources at Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Some companies are even pitching themselves as potential film distributors for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is known for its strict laws and follows Islamic guidelines to the tee. Recently, the country lifted the ban on women driving and allowed its female population the right to drive in public. This new announcement has met with applause and euphoria around the country. Riyadh and Jeddah being the country’s two largest cities are expecting to see the opening of the state-of-the-art multiplexes. The news was welcomed by social media users and Twitter users hailed the decision.
Tim Richards, CEO of UK-based Vue Entertainment was invited to an investment conference in Riyadh in October and following that his company is going to be the most probable operator of the first cinemas in the country. Tim Richards at the conference spoke about recliner seats and the fact that two thirds of the country’s population is below the age of 30 years and avid consumers of YouTube. Twitterati were quick to hail the decision and were of the opinion that finally things are changing for the good. Sample a few tweets below. After Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Driving, Car Companies Share Innovative & Empowering #SaudiWomenCanDrive Ads
Cinema not haram anymore
Good. Finally cinema is not haram anymore:
The General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in #SaudiArabia, which will begin operating in 2018. #movies #Halal”
— Hasan Sari (@HasanSari7) December 11, 2017
— Layan Damanhouri (@layanzd) December 11, 2017
Things are getting better
Finally we will have a Cinema here in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Things get better and more improvements happened
— ENG.ALI (@thegenus007) December 11, 2017
Shocked to know that cinema was banned for 35 years
— Michael Zhang 張雨軒 (@YuxuanMichael) December 11, 2017
Ryan Reynolds is also tagged
What will be the conditions of this ban lift?
Women can go to the cinema on the condition that they wear a burkha & are accompanied by a male guardian or have permission from a male guardian & God forbid if they happen to interact with another male at the cinema #SaudiArabia
— Arty Martini (@ArtyMartini) December 11, 2017
Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030
Saudi Arabia to open cinemas ️ for first time in 35 years. The move comes as part of Crown Prince #MohammedBinSalman’s Vision 2030, which includes a range of economic and social reforms
◽️https://t.co/47AmrG7FEP via @TheNationalUAE#SaudiArabia #Entertainment #Cinema
— Athanas Jamo (@AthanasJamo) December 11, 2017
This news comes as a welcome relief for a lot of people who are looking forward to cinema being back in their country. Saudi Arabians who are devoid of cinematic experience in their own country usually flock to neighbouring UAE and Bahrain to watch movies. This move comes also because of the revenue that would get generated from the sale of cinema and entertainment. According to reports, Saudis spend around $20bn a year overseas on shopping and entertainment trips and now the government wants to tap back on this revenue.