Back in the 1980s, the Saudi government imposed a ban on Cinemas. The government imposed the ban to ensure full Islamization of the country. The 32-year period led by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman have eased these restrictions.
The recent developments and the kingdom only relying on oil for its economic growth have led to consider more options. Saudi Arabia lifts the 35-year old ban on showing movies in cinemas. It is one step of many which the government took to liberalise the country as part of Vision 2030. Saudi Arabia has already issued a driving license for women; allow comedy shows, and concerts. The latest options as seen by the Minister of Culture and Information, Saudi Arabia was to open the cinemas to boost the country’s economy.
The Minister Awwad bin Saleh said,
Opening the cinemas will be a catalyst for “economic growth and diversification.” He also added that it would create more opportunities, jobs and also add the Kingdom’s entertainment options.
Awwad also said,
“We expect the cinemas to open in March 2018.”
The Saudi government intentions are clear. To keep the peace, the minister added in a nod that the films would be censored. The extent of censorship is not clear, but it is sure that they will want the movies to be in line with the principles and values of the kingdom.
There has been no immediate reaction by the Saudi Muftis and other religious groups. There have also been a lot less public reactions this time. It seems that the public does want the cinemas to open in the Kingdom.
The point of opening cinemas is not just to bring entertainment for the people, but to open the economic corridor. To an extent it is true. The kingdom is facing a lot of problems being only dependent on oil. Exploring more options might help the economy of the country.
Al Awwad chairs the Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media. He passed a resolution on Monday which will now allow the authorities to grant licenses for the cinemas all across the Kingdom.
According to the report issued by the Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media, there will be more than 300 cinemas in the kingdom by 2030. The authorities call it the vision 2030. The aim is to ensure that the average Saudi household to spend at least 2.9 percent on entertainment and cultural activities. It will be better for the country’s economic growth and the culture.
The Saudi film Director Haifaa Al Manour who is famous for his full-length film Wajda (2012) seems to be happier. In a report he said, Saudi Arabia has been in the news, but it is nice to be in the news this way. She sees this as an opportunity to explore and work more in the country rather than in the US.
She also added,
Saudia is to fight terrorism, the country needs to give people the love of life. She said, “Love of life comes from joy, and Cinema is Joy.”