Vox Cinemas is set to open its doors this week in Jeddah, following the lifting of the ban on movie theatres in Saudi Arabia in 2018.
The cinema, based in Red Sea Mall, is the first of 600 planned theatres to be opened by Vox over the next five years and the company announced they would be investing $533 million into this project.
Last year, the global Box Office figures were considered encouraging across the cinema industry and in Asia, Harkness Global CEO Mark Ashcroft highlighted: “We’ve seen in India, massive movies like 2.0 that have obviously impacted the box office. I’ve talked about it before, but Bohemian Rhapsody just continues to go from strength to strength.”
The vision of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to diversify the economy with the growth of new industries, in particular entertainment, has to be a positive for Harkness because of the investment the company is continuing to put into the industry in Asia.
Mark added: “We’ve been honoured to supply Vox for many years and we would like to congratulate the team at Vox for this initiative in Saudi Arabia. Regionally we have invested in state of the art manufacturing and are committed to supporting cinema in the region.”
“In 2013-14, we built a facility in Bangalore and we had a record year in India. In truth, the local team in India have done a fabulous job in identifying Bollywood blockbusters and the release of 2.0 really set the Indian cinema market alight. They want it to be shown on great screens. It helps our business.”
According to the website Rapid TV News, recent research suggests the total cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia will hit $1.5 billion over the next 11 years and would see the country host 2,600 cinema screens across 370 locations.
With screen technology also advancing across the world and with Harkness being the leaders in this particular field, Mark added: “We are excited about our relationships with some of our key movie makers in the Asia region, but also, we have got great cinema partners in places like China.
“Elsewhere in the Asia region, there is great growth. The environmental conditions in Asia means screens tend to get that little bit dirtier a little bit quicker.
“We get a great amount of our existing customers coming back to us and saying ‘Hey, help us improve presentation because we need to replace this screen’ and that’s been the case in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia and we hope that continues.”