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Saudi govt likely to reopen cinemas

RIYADH: After years-long shutdown and blackout, Saudi Arabia is likely to open door of cinemas for its citizens in revival of multiplexes as part of social changes.  

“Cinema houses will reopen in Saudi Arabia soon…the decision is not in our hands but they will open again because of social changes and the fact that they do not contradict religion,” a newspaper in the Gulf kingdom cited Sultan Al Bazi, Chairman of the Saudi culture and arts association as saying.

Read more: Curtain rises on Saudi film festival despite cinema ban

“The current period in the kingdom is witnessing real changes because the society is changing…I believe that reopening of the cinemas is part of these changes,” he told the Saudi Arabic language daily Sada.

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There are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia, but some coffee shops surreptitiously put on movies for customers and many Saudis enjoy films at home on DVD and satellite television.

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To experience a cinema, they have to travel to nearby Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates or other countries.

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According to Al-Arabiya, there are 12 million Internet users in Saudi Arabia, but YouTube has as much as 90 million page views every day. The popularity could be explained by the ban on movie theatres. The Internet has become a way for Saudi filmmakers reach their audiences.

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