Saudi Arabia screens first film in cinema after nearly 35 years

After nearly a 35-year-old ban on cinemas and film screening in Saudi Arabia, the country screened a children’s film over the weekend in a makeshift cinema inside the Cultural club in Jeddah.

The ban on cinemas was lifted on December 11 as part of the new liberalizing reform drive led by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

The reforms have already allowed the country to host concerts, comedy shows and other forms of public entertainment alongside allowing women to drive in the country.

Since there are no proper cinemas in Saudi Arabia, the first film ‘Emoji Movie’ was screened at a makeshift cinema which had a projector, a medium sized hall with a popcorn machine. Despite its limited features, swarms of people attended the screening of the movie with their children.

It is expected that fully functional movie theaters will start operating in the country as early as March. The authorities of Saudi Arabia has also kept in mind the checking of content that will be displayed in these cinemas. According to authorities, all films will go through censorship to make sure that they remain in line with the moral values of Saudi Arabia.

The authorities are aiming to open as many as 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens operational by 2030. With this, they hope it will contribute to the economy by adding more than $24 billion.