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Thu 30 Aug 2018 01:42 PM

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Saudi Arabia awards fourth licence to operate cinemas

Saudi Arabia has granted its fourth licence to Lux Entertainment to operate cinemas in the Gulf kingdom

Saudi Arabia awards fourth licence to operate cinemas

Saudi Arabia has granted its fourth licence to Lux Entertainment to operate cinemas in the Gulf kingdom.

In partnership with Al-Hokair Group for Tourism and Development, Cinépolis and Al Tayer Group, Lux plans to open 300 screens in 15 cities around Saudi Arabia.

The plans include multi-concepts including luxury cinemas, children's cinemas and low-cost movie theatres.

In December 2017, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media approved the issuance of licenses to open cinemas following a decades-long ban.

Al-Rashed United Group — Empire Cinema, Vox Cinemas, a subsidiary of Majid Al-Futtaim, and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc have previously been granted licences to operate in Saudi Arabia.

Major cinema chains are seeking to break into the market of more than 30 million people, the majority of whom are under 25.

The move to reopen cinemas is part of a modernisation drive by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is seeking to balance unpopular subsidy cuts in an era of low oil prices with more entertainment options - despite opposition from religious hardliners.

The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the kingdom reels from a protracted slump in oil prices.

Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see movie shows and visit amusement parks in neighbouring tourist hubs like Dubai.

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