Dubai-based Al Futtaim announced on Tuesday it has signed an agreement with PVR Limited, a film exhibition company in India, to establish a joint venture cinema business in the Middle East and North Africa.
Al Futtaim said it sees “great potential” in the cinema business in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia after the kingdom’s government reopened the cinema industry that had been closed for decades.
The companies have already identified locations within Al Futtaim’s projects such as Dubai Festival City and Festival Plaza. They are also in discussions with landlords to secure other locations in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, Al Futtaim said in a statement.
“PVR is the perfect partner for Al Futtaim, given its 20 years’ proven track record of operating and creating experiential cinema formats …” said Marwan Shehadeh, group director of corporate development at Al Futtaim.
The joint venture will introduce a range of experiential cinema formats to the region including PVR’s Director’s Cut, a format described by the companies as blending hospitality and entertainment.
The deal comes as cinema operators aim to capitalise on the opening of the cinema industry in Saudi Arabia as well as consumer spending trends in the UAE. Operators including Majid Al Futtaim’s VOX Cinemas have already opened multiplexes in Saudi Arabia, with plans to launch more screens.
In the UAE, operators are eyeing novel ways to open cinemas, with a focus on experiential formats. In April, American restaurateur and chef Guy Fieri teamed up with Dubai’s Reel Cinemas to launch a dine-in cinema concept where customers can be served a meal as they watch a film.