Saudi Arabia opens cinemas following a 35-year ban

ALI HAIDER

Saudi Arabia film director Haifaa Al-Mansour (R) receives from Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the award of best film at Muhr Arab feature for her movie 'Wadjda' during the award ceremony at the closing night of the 9th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) 2012 in Gulf emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 16 December 2012.

Saudi Arabia opens cinemas following a 35-year ban


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The government of the 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Monday that a 35-year ban on cinema will come to an end.

Cinemas had been closed down in the 1980s as a reaction to the mixing of men and women in public.

Foreign direct investors are bracing to step in one of the most lucrative markets in the world. The first cinemas could be expected to open as early as March 2018, but Saudi Arabia could expect as many as 300 cinemas and 2000 screen to open their gates before 2030.

The Minister of Culture, Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad, welcomed the measure as a strategic move in the economic diversification of the kingdom. A commission chaired by Alawwad is expected to decree on the regulation of the newfound freedom.

The Saudi economy expects to see a new sector emerging, contributing 20bn to the economy.

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