Experts expect Saudi Arabia to be among top 10 film markets by 2030
Experts believe that in three years, Saudi Arabia could produce $1 billion in revenue from movie theaters, and by 2030, it could be among the 10 biggest film markets, Al Arabiya with reference to the Varietymagazine reported.
The new outlook and atmosphere around having cinema theaters open in the country after a decade-long ban prompted a “mad dash by both US and international exhibitors eager to be among the first to build cinemas in the country”, the magazine reported.
“This is a very big opportunity for the entire movie industry,” said John Fithian, CEO of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners.
“It’s a market that’s potentially huge. The vast majority of people in Saudi Arabia are young people with a lot of disposable income and they have a real appetite for movies.”
But Andrew Cripps, Fox’s president of international theatrical distribution, said that the process won’t happen overnight.
“It will take two or three years for there to be meaningful revenue and an infrastructure in place. But once it’s up and running, it has strong potential,” the magazine reported him as saying.
The world is excited about this new endeavor for many reasons. Not only will it widen the consumer-base of the cinema industry, but the kingdom is also investing capital to refurbish its entertainment industry where they announced a budget of $64 billion for it alone, with $10 billion of that amount going for film and fine arts.
Saudi Arabia is planning to build the local industry while integrating it with its Hollywood investments. According to the magazine, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will acquire between a 5% and 10% stake in Endeavor, the holding company for Hollywood talent agency WME, for a sum believed to be $400 million to $500 million.
AMC, iPic, Empire, Vue, CJ CGV and Cinépolis are among the companies that have announced plans to have bases of operation in the country.
According to Variety magazine, licenses started to be granted this month, and studios have been told that they may be screening films in Saudi Arabia by April.