Drive-in Riyadh cinema Saudi
After cinemas were allowed back, the Saudi market for movies and multiplexes has been putting in some exceptional growth. The spread of COVID-19 only managed to slow down the new openings for a while. (Image used for illustrative purposes.) Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: One of Saudi Arabia’s biggest cinema operators, Muvi, is getting into the content business too. The new entity, Muvi Studios, will produce movies, with the emphasis being on Saudi and Egyptian films for a primarily home audience.

Faisal Baltyuor, formerly CEO of Saudi Film Council, takes on the top position at Muvi Studios. He has in the past led an initiative with the Ministry of Culture to develop the Saudi film industry before founding the largest specialised Saudi film distribution company CineWaves Film in 2020. He is also a board member of Manga Production and other roles in the Saudi film industry.

“The phenomenal success of Muvi Cinemas as a homegrown theatre brand has inspired us to move into original Arabic feature film production,” said Muvi Cinemas chief executive Adon Quinn. “The cash we’re investing in Muvi Studios will be used to produce a slate of top-quality Arabic movies and we aim to release a minimum of three films within the next 12 months.”

Breaching 200 screens

Since its launch in February 2019, Muvi Cinemas has expanded to 22 locations and operates 205 screens. It was in April 2018 that cinemas were allowed in the Kingdom.

"Through the creation of Muvi Studios we are intent of producing world-class Arabic movies to entertain audiences in the Middle East and around the world," said Baltyuor. "At the same time, this is another exciting development for the rapidly expanding Saudi film production sector as the country evolves rapidly into a vibrant society."