Emaar’s Reel Cinemas announces ‘aggressive’ expansion into Saudi Arabia

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Emaar’s Reel Cinemas has announced an “aggressive” expansion into Saudi Arabia with plans to open 20 cinemas and children’s play areas over the next five years.

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The first of these venues will be a cinema in Riyadh that is due to open in December, according to a press statement.

The expansion will be facilitated through a partnership with Saudi Arabia’s GOSI Investment Ventures.

Entertainment in the Kingdom has been expanding in recent years as societal reforms make it possible for venues to operate.

The first public film screening in decades was held in 2018 after a cinema ban put in place in the early 1980s was lifted. Black Panther was screened at an AMC cinema to an invitation-only audience.

The Kingdom launched its own cinema chain, Muvi, which opened its first venue in 2019. US chain AMC and the UAE’s Vox Cinemas have also operated in Saudi Arabia since the ban was lifted.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hopes that the Kingdom will have 2,500 cinema screens by 2030.

Reel Cinemas opened its first theater in Dubai Mall in 2009. It now has seven cinemas and two drive-in cinemas in the UAE.

Parent company Emaar Properties took a battering through the COVID-19 pandemic. Emaar Properties saw profits plunge by 58 percent for 2020, while profit for Emaar Malls fell by two-thirds.

Last month it was announced that Emaar Malls would be merging with Emaar Properties, becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary.

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