Big day for Saudi cinema: Here’s what you need to know

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After a decades-long wait, Saudi Arabia’s first cinema will open its doors today to a very excited public in Riyadh.

With only hours separating the kingdom from enjoying this world renowned activity, here is what you need to know:

• Saudi Arabia announced that it will open 40 cinemas in 15 Saudi cities over the next five years as part of plans to develop the entertainment sector in the Kingdom. 100 theaters will open in approximately 25 Saudi cities by 2030.

• The Saudi Ministry of Information confirmed that 350 cinema theatres with 2,500 screens are expected to be open across several Saudi cities by 2030.

• The first company to obtain a license to operate cinemas in Saudi Arabia is AMC.

• The Black Panther will be the first film to be shown in the Kingdom’s first cinema. It has now made $665.4 million domestically, which makes it the third-highest grossing film in North American history.

• The film will be exhibited in a theatre that can accommodate 620 people at the King Abdullah Financial Center in Riyadh, and the American operator AMC has also scheduled a special event for the historic opening.

• Cinema tickets will be initially priced at 50 riyals.

• The official Twitter account made for Saudi cinemas ‘alcinema_sa’ received 42,000 followers three hours after it was created. Its first tweet was “We’re back” followed by a popcorn emoji.

• The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture and Information has estimated the contribution of the cinema sector to its GDP to be over $24 billion.

• Cinemas in Saudi Arabia will create more than 30,000 full-time jobs, in addition to 130,000 part-time jobs by the year 2030.

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