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Empire Cinemas opens first multiplex in Saudi port city

JIZAN (Saudi Arabia), December 11, 2019

Lebanese cinema chain Empire Cinemas has announced the opening of the first-ever multiplex in Jizan, located on Saudi Arabia’s southern Red Sea coast.

The 10-screen (728 seats) facility, which is equipped by a regional unit of CinemaNext, a leading European exhibitor services provider, has been built at an investment of over SR42 million ($11 million).

CinemaNext is a unit of Ymagis Group, the European specialist in digital technologies for the cinema industry headquartered in Belgium. Besides CinemaNext, the group has three more companies - Eclair, VPF & Consumer Entertainment.

Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Jizan Region, last evening inaugurated the cinema at the city's Al Rashid Mall.

Soon after Saudi Arabia's historic decision to open the doors for companies to start operating cinemas in the kingdom, leading global players in the entertainment sector such as US-based AMC Entertainment, British operator Vue International, Dubai-based exhibition outfit VOX, Mexican movie chain Cinépolis and Lebanese group Empire Cinemas - unveiled their massive investment plans in the kingdom.

The announcement that cinemas will be back for the first time since the 1980s also sparked interest among the local groups with top Saudi enterprises Saudi Entertainment Ventures (Seven), Al Rashed Empire Cinema Consortium and Cinemacity joining the cine-bandwagon.

AMC was the first to announce its Saudi entry with plans to open 30 to 40 cinemas in 15 cities in the next five years and finally leading to 100 theatres by 2030 followed by Vue International which is set to build up to 30 multiplexes in the country in partnership with Abdulmohsin Al Hokair Holding, a Saudi real estate group.

Vox Cinemas has unveiled a SR2 billion ($533 million) investment plan for the kingdom under which the Dubai group will open a total of 600 screens in the next five years, while Cinépolis said it aims to set up 63 new screens in six cinema theatres across the country.

Al Rashed Empire Cinema Consortium, the third big player in the market, has plans to open as many as 30 cinemas in various cities around Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Seven, a subsidiary of the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), too has announced plans to set up the first movie theatre in Al Khobar. It is being built in collaboration with AlOula Real Estate Development and is likely to be opened in the second quarter of 2020.-TradeArabia News Service




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