RIYADH: Shoppers in the Saudi capital will now be able to take in a flick after the opening of another cinema in the city.
And the entertainment giant behind the project has revealed it plans to pump more than $500 million into building 600 screens in the Kingdom by 2023.
VOX Cinemas on Wednesday got the reels in motion at its latest movie theater in Al-Qasr Mall. The 15-screen complex, which can seat a total of 1,294 film fans, is the second VOX cinema to open in Riyadh (the first being in Riyadh Park) and the third in the Kingdom (the other being in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall).
The much-anticipated opening of the Al-Qasr movie house brings the number of big screens in Saudi Arabia to 31. However, VOX has big plans for more to come.
Mohamed Al-Hashemi, VOX’s country manager for Saudi Arabia, told Arab News: “The cinema industry in Saudi has seen a good start, and the market reaction has been excellent. We are also very pleased at the support we have received from the government so far, in everything from operating, to licensing and expansion.
“The concept of entertainment-plus-cinema is one we are trying to introduce to the market, and we have been pleased with the results so far. Audiences need a quality entertainment experience, and we can offer that.”
Al-Qasr offers a KIDS Theater and IMAX screen, plus a Nutella bar. KIDS is a unique cinema concept where children and parents can watch the latest animation, action and adventure films in friendly, colorful surroundings.
In addition, the Al-Qasr complex features an 8-lane bowling alley, two of them designated for families, which offer customized avatars and on-screen animations.
Cinemagoers attending the Wednesday opening there were able to choose from a variety of movies including the newly released “Captain Marvel” and slightly older fantasy adventure film “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
Al-Hashemi said VOX aims to have 110 screens operating in the Kingdom by the end of the year. He said more locations are slated to open in the cities of Dammam, Tabuk, and Taif.
The company intends to invest more than $500 million on building 600 screens in the next four years.
Residents in Dammam will be next in line to get in on the Saudi cinema experience, with a multiplex scheduled to open there in June.
Two more 8-screen cinemas are also slated to open in Riyadh in the coming 30 days; one at The Roof, a high-end mall, alongside several upmarket restaurants and another Nutella bar; and one in Kingdom Tower, which will feature a luxury cinema experience.
Tickets currently range in price from SR50 to SR80 ($13 to $21) and can be purchased via VOX’s website or app.