Hollywood 2018: Saudi Arabia–New Frontier for American Movies and TV

Saudi Arabia, the Middle Eastern nation is lifting a 35-year old ban on movie theaters, prompting rushed action by both U.S. and international exhibitors eager to be among the first to build cinemas in a country that’s been film-deprived for decades.

The large population–about 30 million–the majority of which is under 25 years old and many of it rich–are major pluses for studios and entertainment companies to cash in on the gold-rush frenzy.

“This is a very big opportunity for the entire movie industry,” said John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “It’s a market that’s potentially huge. The vast majority of people are young people with a lot of disposable income and they have a real appetite for movies.”