Follows announcement of $533m commitment from MAF to open 600 new Vox screens in KSA
IMAX Corporation and Vox Cinemas have signed a new agreement that specifies a minimum of four IMAX cinemas in Saudi Arabia. The cinemas will be added to new multiplexes in Riyadh, as well as other key malls in the kingdom that are owned by Vox’s parent company Majid Al Futtaim (MAF).
The announcement follows a $533m commitment from MAF to open 600 new Vox screens in the kingdom. The commitment was made after Vox won the license to operate cinemas in the kingdom.
The first IMAX screen has already opened in Riyadh, at Vox’s four-screen multiplex. Plans are already in place for IMAX cinemas in MAF’s City Centre Ishbiliyah and Mall of Saudi. Vox Cinemas currently operates 322 screens across eight countries in the region.
“Saudi Arabia presents an exciting and sizeable new growth opportunity for Imax, and today’s agreement with our long-time partners at Vox Cinemas marks an important first step in our efforts to capitalize on this untapped market. Imax began delivering awe-inspiring cinematic experiences to audiences in Saudi Arabia in 2005 as the sole operating theatre in the country. We’ve been closely following the economic and cultural developments in the market and look forward to playing a key role in the growth of the Kingdom’s emerging entertainment sector,” said Richard L Gelfond, CEO at IMAX.
Inclusive of the new agreement with VOX, IMAX says it now has 32 contracted cinemas in the region, 20 of which are already open for business. IMAX first entered the region in the year 2000, with a noncommercial screen in the Scientific Centre of Kuwait.
Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas added, “We’re thrilled to bring IMAX to commercial theatres in KSA for the first time. We thank the Saudi Government for the faith they have placed in us and we look forward to contributing to the Saudi Vision 2030 as we support the growth of their new cinema sector. We are investing heavily in creating an exceptional movie-watching experience for cinema goers in Saudi – incorporating not just the latest movie content, but also top-quality food and beverage, superior customer service and cutting-edge technology. Our Net Promoter Score platform ensures that we gauge all our guests’ feedback and continue to provide an experience that exceeds their expectations and the market standards.”
The announcement follows IMAX’s signing of a MoU with Saudi Arabia’s General Culture Authority (GCA) on May 12 at the Cannes Film Festival. The GCA and IMAX will also jointly seek opportunities to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and eventually tap IMAX’s global distribution platform to export their films to non-Arabic markets.