Cinepolis to Open Movie Theaters in Saudi Arabia

Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas

The Arab nation recently announced it was lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas.

Mexico's Cinepolis, the world's fourth largest exhibitor, has announced plans to crack Saudi Arabia's untapped and potentially highly lucrative cinema market.

In partnership with Saudi Arabian entertainment and hospitality operator Alhokair Group and Dubai-based luxury and lifestyle retailer Al Tayer Group, Cinepolis will build a cinemas in a range of sizes over the next five years. They will include luxury theaters; kid-friendly auditoriums; and movie houses with 4DX technology, which offers augmented effects such as seat motion, wind and scents.

Saudi Arabia's coveted exhibition market is expected to grow to about $1 billion in several years.

Cinepolis operates 5,300-plus screens across 14 countries worldwide, including Mexico, the U.S., India and Brazil. In the coming years, the circuit plans to build cinemas in 15 key Saudi Arabian cities.

With a country that's home to more than 30 million potential moviegoers, Cinepolis CEO Alejandro Ramirez called the December opening of Saudi Arabia's exhibition sector a "monumental transformation."

The lifting of the 35-year movie house ban is part of a long-term reform program aimed to stimulate and diversify the economy.

Additionally, Cinepolis is set to launch theaters in the Arab Gulf countries of the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain, with the first location due to open early next year.

Rival chain AMC Theaters, the world's largest exhibitor, announced earlier this month that it had won Saudi Arabia's first license to operate cinemas with a local partner.