190216 saudi cinema
File photo: Film fans at the opening of a VOX cinema in Riyadh. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: The total sales of cinema tickets in Saudi Arabia, amidst a flourishing entertainment industry, have exceeded SR900 million in each of the past two years, according to media reports.

According to the Saudi newspaper Okaz, the number of tickets sold last year exceeded 17 million, as mentioned in a recent forum organised by the government Film Commission."

The online meeting about the box office performances of Saudi films shed light on their screenings both within the kingdom and abroad.

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Remarkable growth

The Saudi cinema sector has remarkably grown since the theatres were reopened in 2018, with the number of screens reaching 627 at 69 theatres across the kingdom, a country of around 32.2 million people.

Participants in the forum discussed proposals to boost the Saudi film industry, including cooperation between government and public sectors in promoting Saudi talents and boosting associated infrastructure facilities in such a way that would attract investments in the Saudi cinema industry.

Other proposals included encouraging film buffs to watch movies at theatres, and not limiting themselves to other showing platforms.

Diversifying economy

In April 2018, Saudi Arabia reopened cinemas for the first time in nearly four decades as part of dramatic changes in the kingdom and an ambitious plan to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

Last year, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) stated that the cinema sector in Saudi Arabia is the largest in the region.

GCAM reported that the number of seats across 69 cinemas in the country exceeds 64,000, spread across 20 cities.