Following on from news that Saudi Arabia will permit cinemas to be established in the country, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has confirmed that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with US and China-backed AMC Entertainment.
AMC, owned 75 per cent by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, and claims to be the largest cinema group in the world (1000+ theatres, 11,000 screens), says that the MoU covers the Fund’s mandate to help unlock promising new sectors within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, adding, “PIF and AMC Entertainment will explore a range of commercial opportunities for collaboration that will support the growth of the Kingdom’s entertainment sector.”
The agreement builds on the announcement of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media’s (GCAM) decision to grant domestic licences to cinema providers, and directly supports the Vision 2030 objective of growing household spending on entertainment from 2.9 per cent to 6 per cent of GDP.
A spokesperson from PIF said: “PIF sees huge potential in the Kingdom’s entertainment sector. We look forward to working with AMC Entertainment Holdings to explore opportunities in developing an industry that is expected to be around $1 billion in size.”
“This announcement is an historic moment for the theatrical exhibition industry and a tremendous opportunity to connect AMC’s movie products with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s more than 30 million citizens, many of whom we know are movie fans based on their regular visits to cinemas in neighbouring countries,” said AMC CEO and President, Adam Aron. “Saudi Arabia represents a lucrative business opportunity for AMC Entertainment, and no one does the cinema experience on a global scale better than AMC. As such we believe AMC is in a unique position to put the industry’s best foot forward in expanding the magic of the movies to an important country that is in the process of opening up entertainment opportunities for its citizens.”