Breaking the box office: the UAE and Saudi are making a mark on the global film industry

The region continues to shatter records
Breaking the box office: the UAE and Saudi are making a mark on the global film industry

In true Middle Eastern form, garnering envious glances from across the globe is the region's projected contribution to global box office revenues.

Speakers of the Mena Cinema Forum have revealed that in the next five years, five per cent of the global box office revenue will be made up by our beloved MENA region, with the UAE and Saudi set for becoming two of the world’s top 10 leading markets by 2030.

The forum brings to light the hurdles that the region’s cinema industry is facing and offers insight into the market’s growth potential.

“The popular belief is that the box office industry is dwindling [...] but statistics show us otherwise. Since 2010, the industry has grown by 30 per cent worldwide,” said Cameron Mitchell, chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas. “It is critical that we focus on creating an immersive experience for our audiences. That is what we, as an industry, can offer. We must learn from the mistakes others in the movie industry have made.” (Looking at you, Blockbuster).

“While MENA is already a major contributor to the industry. We will be witnessing a significant rise in box office revenue generated from the region,” says Rajkumar Akella, managing director of analytics company, Comscore.

Though an estimated 1,400 cinema screens exist across the MENA region, according to Akella, in the next three years, the number is expected to increase by a whopping 35 per cent.

Having recently lifted its ban on cinema, Saudi Arabia is expected to construct more than 45 cinemas by 2020.

“By 2030, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are set to be among the top 10 leading markets of the industry. Saudi Arabia alone will generate more than Dhs5.5billion in box office revenue,” Akella explains.

Akella also noted that the industry will be responsible for creating more than 30,000 new jobs in the kingdom, pumping an estimated Dhs88billion into the economy. Wow.

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