Mexico's Cinepolis, the world's fourth largest exhibitor, has announced plans to enter Saudi Arabia's newly formed cinema market with lucrative potential for growth. The Kingdom recently lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas with the first screening event held in Riyadh in April.
Cinepolis will build a cinemas in a range of sizes over the next five years with two local partners - Saudi Arabian entertainment and hospitality operator Alhokair Group and Dubai-based luxury and lifestyle retailer Al Tayer Group. They will include luxury theaters; kid-friendly auditoriums; and movie houses with 4DX technology, which offers augmented effects such as seat motion, wind and scents. In the coming years, the Mexican company plans to build Cinepolis theatres in 15 key Saudi Arabian cities.
Saudi Arabia's lucrative entertainment and exhibition market is expected to grow to about $1 billion in several years. Saudi nationals traveling to neighbouring countries to enjoy movies has been a large scale phenomenon during the cinema ban era. The lifting of the 35-year cinema ban is part of a long-term Vision 2030 reform program aimed to stimulate and diversify the economy. Cinepolis CEO Alejandro Ramirez called the opening of Saudi Arabia's cinema exhibition sector a "monumental transformation."
AMC Theaters, the world's largest exhibitor was the first cinema chain to announce that it had won Saudi Arabia's first license to operate cinemas with a local partner. VOX Cinemas, KNCC/Cinescape, iPic and Prime Cinemas have all announced plans to open cinemas in the country.
Mexican owned Cinepolis Corporativo operates 5,300-plus screens across 14 countries worldwide, including Mexico, the U.S., India and Brazil.
CEO Alejandro Ramirez called the opening of Saudi Arabia's exhibition sector a "monumental transformation."
Additionally, Cinepolis is set to launch theatres in the Arab Gulf countries of the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain, with the first location due to open early next year in Dubai.