Vox Cinemas opened its first branch in Jeddah in January as part of its $533 million investment to open 600 theatres in the kingdom
A film shot in Saudi Arabia is set to premiere in Vox Cinemas in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall for the first time on Wednesday.
Roll’em, which is directed and produced by Abdulelah Al-Qurashi, follows the story of Saudi filmmaker Omar Nizar, who meets a retired 1970s cinematographer while on a journey to discover Jeddah.
The two reflect on the country’s filmmaking sector, which was banned in the kingdom for around 35 years before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman lifted the ban in 2018.
The move was in line with his Vision 2030 initiative, which aims to diversify the economy away from oil through the growth of new industries such as entertainment. Saudi saw its first cinema open in April, 2018 in Riyadh.
Vox Cinemas opened its first branch in Jeddah in January after it announced a $533 million investment last year to open up to 600 theatres in the kingdom over the next five years.
In November last year, research by PwC Middle East estimated total cinema revenue in Saudi to reach $1.5 billion by 2030. The forecast is based on a projected 2030 population of 39.5 million, and 6.6 screens per 100,000 people.
“By 2030, Saudi Arabia is expected to host 2,600 cinema screens that will entertain its growing population,” said Dr Martin Berlin, Middle East partner and global deals real estate leader at PwC Middle East.
Based on global and regional benchmarks, PwC said it expects Saudi Arabia to accommodate between 300 and 370 cinema locations.