Saudi Arabia lifts a 35-year ban on movie theaters

Saudi Arabia lifts its 35-year ban on movie theaters as part of the Crown Prince's plan to diversify the country's economy.


December 13, 2017

Saudi Arabia has decided to fling open the once-locked doors to the movie biz — lifting a ban on movie theatres they’ve had since the ‘80s.

This Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s latest effort to liberalize the uber-conservative nation (in September, he lifted the ban on women drivers as well).

The shift is not without debate: while SA’s social liberals are dead-set on finding ways to have a good time, religious conservatives argue that movies go against Islamic rules.

But Salman’s already seeing dollar signs:

Last year Saudi Arabia announced their plans to diversify their economy and break free from their over-dependence on oil revenues, and the silver screen could be a goldmine.

By bringing back movie theatres, they hope to entice more foreign investments — a plan that’s already in the works: AMC’s chief executive Adam Aron says he expects to have an AMC theatre in SA by the end of next year.

On top of that, it’s gonna create more jerrrbs

The government plans to lift the curtain as early as March, and by 2030 they hope to have 300 cinemas with over 2k screens.

And if all goes according to plan, they claim the new theatres will create 30k jobs and bring over $24B (USD) in box office revenue.

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