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Saudi sovereign fund plans cinema venture with AMC Entertainment
13 December 2017, 04:30 | Tara Lloyd
Saudi Arabia has announced it will allow cinemas to operate in the country - more than three decades after they were banned.
"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the kingdom", Alawwad said.
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In the 1980s, movie theatres in Saudi Arabia were banned, considered a threat to religious and cultural identity. 32-year-old crown prince stated the goal of the program was to increase household spending on cultural and entertainment activities in the oil-dependent kingdom from 2.9% to 6% by 2030. While the March 2018 start date means Saudi Arabian crowds will miss out on the big-screen perfection that is Lady Bird, here's hoping they'll get a chance to weigh in on whatever movies rule the Western box office next summer.
But it's worth noting that the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum ranked the kingdom of Saudi Arabia 141 out of 144 countries on gender parity.
Lifting the ban on movie theaters is designed to help spur new economic activity to fuel the economy: citizens will spend money at the theaters (and on services surrounding theaters, like restaurants and coffee shops), and the theaters themselves will create jobs.
The latest social reform by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman led to an outpouring of joy on Twitter, with Saudis posting images of buckets of popcorn and GIFs of people dancing, fainting and crying. "It shows that cinemas in the kingdom have become important", he added.
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In a press statement, the Ministry of Culture and Information said that "The General Commission for Audiovisual Media, the official regulator of the sector, will begin preparing the steps of the necessary executive procedures to open cinema rooms in the Kingdom".
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