VOX to open multiplex in Riyadh soon

22 April 2018, 01:51 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Middle East Theater Chain Vox to Become Second to Open in Saudi Arabia

Saudi cinema ban is dead with an invite-only screening of Black Panther in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia launched its first commercial movie theater on Wednesday, ending a almost 40-year ban on cinemas under a push by the crown prince to modernize the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

Saudi Arabia was introduced to cinemas half a century ago through foreign companies and embassies, which came to work in Saudi Arabia at the time. It'll likely be joined by other operators including Vue and iPic in the coming months as the gold rush to take advantage of an untapped market estimated to be worth some $1 billion heats up. The Saudi official said there would also be no segregation when theaters open to the public - moviegoers would be able to choose between mixed, male-only and female-only screenings.

The launch, held by the Chinese-owned AMC Entertainment, featured the screening of the latest Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther.

The move comes as part of Vision 2030, the kingdom's post-oil economy plan under which the government aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation's workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.

The gala opening was limited to about 500 invited guests, executives and officials, but public screenings of the movie will begin soon, AMC said. A kissing scene in "Black Panther" was reportedly cut from the film for Wednesday's screening.

Cardi B Smashes Taylor Swift's Apple Streaming Record
According to Billboard , Invasion of Privacy beat out Reputation's streaming record before mid-week. In a day and age of albums having only one or two good songs, Cardi B delivers a B as in banger.

Egypt to extend state of emergency for 3 months - official gazette
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has extended a state of emergency in Egypt for another three months. Attacks are rarely carried out in Central Sinai.

Trump Blasts California Governor Over National Guard Commitment to Border
Customs and Border Protection's acting deputy commissioner, indicated that talks had stalled but had not broken down completely. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life.

But Saudi Arabia's decision to lift the 35-year ban on cinemas points to major efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to modernize the country and make its economy more competitive on the global stage. Saudi Arabia's powerful conservative clerics claimed Western movies did not meet their hard-line interpretations of Islam.

"Saudis now are going to be able to go to a attractive theater and watch movies the way they're supposed to be watched: on a big screen", he told Reuters ahead of the screening. Saudi Arabia's highest-ranking cleric warned a year ago of the "depravity" of cinemas while urging the government "not to open doors for evil". The growth of the exhibition sector is expected to create around 30,000 permanent jobs and some 130,000 temporary positions, by 2030.

AMC has partnered with a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, to build up to 40 AMC cinemas across the country over the next five years. Some powerful religious voices still oppose the opening.

Saudi Arabia had already started gradually loosening restrictions on movie screenings in the past few years, with local film festivals and screenings in makeshift theaters.

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture has declared that the movies shown in the country "will be subject to censorship according to media policy standards of the Kingdom, stressing that will be in line with values and principles in place and do not contradict with Sharia Laws and moral values in the Kingdom".



Other News

Trending Now

Bayern Munich Name Kovac As New Head Coach
Frankfurt sports director Fredi Bobic said the club had been surprised by the quick decision. "I wanted Liverpool to get Madrid ". Kovac, far right, saved Eintracht Frankfurt from relegation in a play-off against Nuremberg in 2016.

FIFA Ranking: Ghana to 51st with no friendlies
South American football governing body CONMEBOL has asked FIFA to bring forward plans for a World Cup expansion. Likewise, Switzerland, France, Spain, Chile and Poland complete the list of top ten nations in world football.

Delhi Daredevils beat Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in IPL match
While a total in excess of 200 was on the cards, leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia applied the brakes dismissing the openers. Mumbai's batting heights came in phases, and during those phases, nearly every Delhi bowler was punished.

Pentagon on Syria strikes: 'We successfully hit every target'
However, Syrian air defense systems intercepted the majority of the attempted strikes, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until Assad's government stopped its use of chemical weapons .

Starbucks to close stores for bias training on May 29
Another incident happened in a California Starbucks which is a similar incident to what happened in the Philadelphia Starbucks . Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests " reprehensible " and said he wanted to apologise to the two men face-to-face.

Manchester United stars face axe as Jose Mourinho fumes
Now aged 36, Carrick is nearing the end of his final season at United as he prepares to retire and step into a coaching role as part of Jose Mourinho's backroom staff.

Man Utd legend Cole: Win FA Cup, or else..
For United, it is different. "They beat United earlier in the season comfortably so it's going to be a tough match for United". Over the years there have been many incredible games between the two and Saturday's cup clash is set to be another.

John Cena, of West Newbury, and Nikki Bella break off their engagement
Nikki was even prepared to give up her dream of having kids because she knew John didn't want them. An unnamed source told PEOPLE that Cena acted like he was doing Bella a favour by marrying her.

Germany hits brakes on Macron's European dreams
He said: "I will only support an enlargement when there is first a deepening and a reform of our Europe". Juncker said Macron's arrival in power in France had given new hope to the world's biggest trading bloc.

Trash your lettuce! E. coli outbreak in NJ traced to Ariz
The source of the outbreak can, as of now, only be traced to chopped romaine lettuce from the growing region of Yuma, Arizona. The CDC reports cases in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, Idaho , Missouri, Connecticut and New Jersey has the most outbreaks.