According to research presented by Omdia presented at the fourth META Cinema Forum – the cinema convention in the Middle East and Africa 500 industry delegates staged at Atlantis the Palm in Dubai - box office revenue in Saudi Arabia is set to triple from $150m in 2020 to $450m in 2021.
In addition, box office revenue in the Middle East is poised to cross $800m in 2021, $1bn in 2022 and $1.3bn in 2024, recovering from $250m in 2020. This is set against the rest of the world where combined revenues in the box office industry fell by 64.7% to roughly $15bn last year, from $42.5bn in 2019.
Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Mind Events Management which staged the event, said: “The cinema industry in the Middle East and Africa has shown remarkable resilience with the fastest recovery from Covid-19 pandemic – compared to the rest of the world. This reflects the inherent strength of the industry. People in the Middle East, especially the young generation, will continue to watch movies in cinema halls – that will primarily drive the growth of the industry, unlike the Western countries where OTT and content streaming channels are encouraging consumers to watch movies at home.”
She added: ”The growth of the cinema industry in the Middle East will also be driven by the economic diversification plan of the GCC governments, especially Saudi Arabia, to reduce dependence on oil. Cinema, entertainment and leisure sector will push the growth of the sector in the next few years.” Data suggests that Saudi Arabia will drive the growth of the cinema industry in the Middle East and Africa region.
Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Head of Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment, Cinemas, and Lifestyle in Saudi Arabia, said: “For most businesses, the last 18 months has been a continuous juggling act as we navigate through unchartered waters of the pandemic. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, cinema operators across the region have demonstrated resilience and the capacity to adapt, which has positively impacted the pace of recovery.
“As consumer habits continue to change, our industry needs to re-invent itself and continue driving movie lovers towards the magical experience of the big screen. The region is becoming an increasingly important market to the global box office, particularly Saudi Arabia and Vox Cinemas is looking to the future with confidence as we accelerate our pace of growth and continue to redefine the cinematic experience.”