Cinemas in Saudi Arabia will get their licenses in 2018.
“As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom,” Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad said in a statement.
”We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018.”
The government had promised a shake-up of the cultural scene with a set of “Vision 2030” reforms announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year, aimed at creating jobs and opening up Saudis’ lifestyles.
The changes are also intended to capture up to a quarter of the $20 billion currently spent overseas by Saudis, who are accustomed to travelling abroad to see shows and visit amusement parks in nearby tourist hub Dubai or further afield.
Saudi Arabia in recent months has organized concerts, a Comic-Con pop culture festival and a mixed-gender national day celebration that saw people dancing in the streets to thumping electronic music for the first time.