The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is truly on a vision to reform Saudi Arabia with his modernised thought. His bold economic vision and advocacy of women rights in the country are keenly watched by global media experts. Now, the Prince has announced another gesture towards modernisation.
US cinema chain AMC Entertainment along with Saudi Arabia's vast Public Investment Fund is likely to open 300 theatres with 2000 screens by 2030, which will reportedly contribute $24 billion to the economy.
After almost 35 years, Saudi is ready to open movie theatres in the country. "A resolution allowing the Culture Ministry to license commercial cinemas has been passed, and the licensing process started for new theatres."
"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," Culture Minister Awwad Alawwad said in a statement, as reported by Variety.
"This announcement is a historic moment for the theatrical exhibition industry and a tremendous opportunity to connect AMC's movie products with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's more than 30 million citizens, many of whom we know are movie fans based on their regular visits to cinemas in neighbouring countries," AMC CEO Adam Aron added.
A report on Los Angeles Times revealed that "sex and nudity will almost certainly be barred, and theatres could be required to segregate women and families from all-male audiences." Though the level of restrictions and censorship are under the radar, the move is considered as Saudi's fading face of cleric-rule.