Saudi Arabia Becomes the Top Theatrical Market in the Middle East

While box office returns in 2020 will suffer an estimated 80% global drop due to COVID-19, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is bucking this downward trend, having grown since 2019 to become the Middle East’s top grossing territory this year to date.


Fresh figures released during the recent META Cinema Forum exhibitors’ conference in October reveals that the Kingdom has overtaken the United Arab Emirates this year, and is currently the region’s top-grossing territory, with more than $73 million in theatrical movie ticket sales over the past 40 weeks – a roughly $2 million increase in box office returns compared with the same period in 2019.


The UAE during the same 2020 period has generated roughly $51 million, roughly a quarter of its 2019 box office draw.


Commenting on the growth of the theatrical market in KSA, Cameron Mitchell, CEO of VOX Cinemas says: “We believe that Saudi Arabia is the only cinema market globally to have expanded in 2020.”


Mitchell sees the Saudi market as having increased by roughly 4% year to date – despite the fact that, due to the pandemic, cinemas where closed between March and the middle of June – and is forecasting an 8% growth by year’s end.


The theatrical market in the Middle East in 2019 was worth $600 million, of which Saudi accounted for a $110 million share and the UAE roughly $250 million – which excludes releases of Indian and Arabic films and some indie content. “This year our numbers are telling us that the UAE is going to be worth about $60 million, and Saudi is going to be worth $120 million,” says Mitchell.


In terms of the bigger picture, Mitchell believes that Hollywood will value the Middle East at about $220 million in 2020 out of which KSA will contribute to 50% of the same this year.


David Hancock, an analyst at London-based Omdia says, “The fact that Saudi has now overtaken the UAE, albeit in a weird year, is suddenly a milestone for the Saudi Arabian cinema market.” Hancock expects the country will be a billion-dollar market “in 3 to 5 years,” depending on recovery from COVID-19 which he estimates this year will cause an 80% global box office drop, with losses totaling up to $30 billion. He also mentioned that KSA is on track to become the dominant market in the region “and one of the top 10 or 15 markets in the world.”


An interesting aspect of Saudi Arabia’s current box office upswing is that grosses in the country are currently generated from a mere 260 screens – less than half the 614 screens operating in the UAE. Average occupancy levels in cinemas across the Middle East have not gone beyond 20%, and Saudi is no exception. However, in terms of generating box office, KSA has the cushy advantage boasting of an average ticket priced at $17.60, which is the highest in the region followed by UAE figure which is $12.80, and Kuwait, the region’s third market, priced at $11.90.


Since cinemas re-opened in June, the biggest releases across the Middle East was Tenet, earning $1.1 and $1.5 Million in its opening weekend in UAE and KSA (figures from Box Office Mojo), followed by Mulan – which earned over $1.3 Million in its opening weekend in UAE. Unhinged starring Russel Crowe also performed handsomely in the region, though figures were not made readily available.


Meanwhile, screen growth in Saudi Arabia is going forward undeterred, with VOX presently operating 124 screens across 11 locations. Aside from VOX Cinemas, other cinema exhibitors operating in the Kingdom include Muvi Cinemas and AMC Cinemas who have 10 and 6 operational cinemas respectively, and are in the midst of massive expansion plans over the year ahead.


It’s also interesting to note that a number of new cinema locations opened across KSA, post the COVID-19 lockdown. VOX Cinemas opened three new locations – Sahara Mall, Tabuk Park and Al Jamea (Town Square), Muvi Cinemas massively expanded with the opening of six new locations – Jubail Mall, Al Ahsa Mall, Haifa Mall, Aziz Mall, Nakheel Mall (Riyadh) and Mall of Dhahran, and AMC Cinemas opened four new locations – Hafr Al Batin, Riyadh Gallery, Al Khair and Azizia Plaza.


VOX projects there will be a total of 340 screens in operation in the country by year’s end, and close to 700 by the end of 2021.


Having a market like Saudi Arabia can help Hollywood studios offset some of their losses, says Mitchell, who is worried that due to COVID-19, the supply chain is drying up. To overcome the challenge posed by the lack of new content, VOX is stepping up its offer of alternative content such as live soccer matches, opera and concerts, and also classic re-releases. VOX has also teamed up with local players Image Nation and MBC Group to produce a slate of Arabic films, at least three of which they plan to release in 2021 as part of a plan to release up to 10 Arabic self-produced titles annually.


Mitchell is confident the country will become a top ten global market for cinema, with forecasting the industry in the Kingdom will be worth more than $1.2 billion by the end of 2030.



Sources: Variety, Arabian Business, Arab News

META Cinema Forum Discusses the Region’s Project Updates and COVID-19 Recovery Strategy

Including META Cinema Forum Awards, Screenings and More


October 27, 2020 – Dubai, UAE. The third edition of META Cinema Forum kicked off today and is supported by the cinema giants in the region. Throughout the two days the conference will discuss all the latest projects and developments in the industry and the effect that COVID-19 has had on the cinema industry, projections, plans and the vision for recovery.


Taking place on 27 -28 October at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, the event will gather 28 of the industry’s leaders in cinema production, distribution, construction, and technology. For the first time ever, the event is taking place in a hybrid format, welcoming attendees to attend physically or virtually via video conferencing technology. The speakers and the panelists choose whether to participate in the physical form hosted at the VOX Cinemas, or on a digital platform, making the event accessible to all and a global first live hybrid event to be shown in a cinema.


Focusing on the current challenges the industry is facing, the content and format has been adjusted accordingly to cater to the needs of the industry and commenced with the welcome remarks from Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management, organisers and Head of the META Cinema Forum team followed by the Forum’s Strategic Partner, VOX Cinemas, Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.


At the welcome remarks, Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of Great Minds Event Management said: “We are  thrilled to host the world’s first hybrid conference shown live on digital platform and at a cinema, with speakers participating in person or virtually, all blended together for a seamless hybrid experience like no other. We continue to commit to our promise to deliver the richest up-to-date cinema industry content for the Middle East and African markets, working with some of the most influential cinema experts in the world.”


Masinaei continues, “As always the Forum includes features such as slate content presentations, special screenings, an awards ceremony, a post-event reception as well as product showcases, but in the new hybrid format blending the virtual and physical together for a first time ever experience. We are excited to welcome many new delegates to this year’s edition, whom had not attended the pervious editions and is made possible thanks to having the option to attend virtually, this is a blessing of the new era I think we sometimes forget to mention.”


At the opening keynote from Event Strategic Partner: Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment, said ”The future of film depends on enhanced collaboration and, VOX Cinemas is proud to once again partner with the META Cinema Forum, which provides an important platform for key stakeholders and leading industry players to engage in open dialogue, share knowledge, challenges and ideas so that we can jointly as an industry navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19 together and ensure the longevity of the cinema industry.”


He continued, “Cinema is one of the oldest cultural institutions, which has weathered numerous societal storms, wars and prospered through over a century of challenges. At VOX Cinemas, we remain fundamentally confident about the future and resilience of the industry and firmly believe that, if we continue to evolve in line with guest feedback and emerging trends, cinema will find a way, as it has throughout its history, to not just survive but thrive.”


Followed by insightful speech about cinema statistics and analysis during and post-pandemic era by Pablo Carrera, Principal Analyst- Cinema, Omdia. The data shared was exclusively research for META Cinema Forum and presented for the first time to a global audience.


Next on the agenda was a keynote panel discussion titled: Effect of COVID-19 on the cinema industry, projections, plans and vision for recovery and beyond where John Iozzi, CEO and Managing Director, AMC Cinemas – KSA, Maria Gedeon, Marketing Director, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas, Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinema Association and John Donnelly, Business Development Director, Dolby Laboratories discussed critical topics such as the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the cinema industry across the globe and in the META region, future of the cinema industry, market forecasts, operating cinemas within the “new normal”, profitability of cinemas at reduced capacity and most importantly, the road to recovery.

The Panel Discussion was followed up by a technical presentation from Dolby.


The second panel of the day, addressed the most critical subject in the theatrical industry, content. As the global news outlets have reported, cinemas are shutting down around the world due to lack of content and continued delays in blockbuster releases from the studios. The META region has a unique advantage by having access to a diverse range of content to cater to their population rich in diversity, and if nurtured, would not only survive the pandemic, but lead the way in the global cinema recovery by pioneering diversified content sources for the cinemas.


Experts offered their perspective on the subject from their unique positions in academia, production, distribution, event cinema, and cinema exhibition, the panel discussion was joined by Toni El Massih, Chief Content Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, Joel Haikali, Director/Producer at Joe Vision Production, Chairperson of Namibia Film Commission Board, Co-founder of the Creative Industry Guide Africa, Rony Mitri, Independent Distribution Advisor, Melissa Cogavin, Consultant, Melissa Cogavin Ltd, Dr. Fazal Malik, Dean Humanities, Arts and Applied Sciences, Amity University Dubai, Grainne Peat, Managing Director, Event Cinema Association and Serge Zabbal, Business Director, Empire Entertainment.


The final panel discussion of the day was dedicated to the latest in cinema technology and unique products that are being developed with the cinema recovery around the world.


Showreels of upcoming features from various studios were shown throughout the day, and day one was wrapped up by a special film screening of a film that was shot in Dubai, Twisted Blues and this is the first time the film has been played on the big screen.


Day two of the forum is jam-packed with live sessions hosted at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, slate content presentations, an awards ceremony and post-event reception.


The forum has attracted the biggest cinema operators in the region to be its partners in success. VOX Cinemas is the forum’s strategic partner whilst NovoAMC KSACinepolisCinepax and FilmOne are the forum’s Cinema Partners. The list of production and distribution partners for the 2020 edition includes Empire EntertainmentSonySPRI, and FilmOne.


Related Article:

META Cinema Forum Confirms 2020 Event in Hybrid Format

Highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2019

Highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2018



Source: META Cinema Forum (Press Release)

VOX Drive-in Movie Screenings are Now Carbon Neutral

Majid Al Futtaim in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and VOX Cinemas celebrated World Environment Day by hosting the region’s first carbon neutral drive-in movie screening for Tesla cars.

The special screening, which took place at VOX Cinemas Drive-In on the rooftop of Mall of the Emirates on 6th June 2020, was attended by the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, along with over 100 movie enthusiasts in their Tesla electric cars.

Tesla Special Screening at VOX Drive-in at Mall of the Emirates


To mark the international awareness day, and in continuation of its ongoing sustainability efforts, Majid Al Futtaim also announced that it is partnering with Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence to offset the carbon emissions from all VOX Drive-In screenings.

Majid Al Futtaim’s partnership with Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence will ensure that all screenings held at the VOX Drive-In will have a carbon neutral footprint. This will be done by assessing and minimising climate impact through carbon measurement, reduction of avoidable carbon emissions, and offsetting the remaining ones. In addition, Majid Al Futtaim has implemented a waste collection process to ensure 100% waste recycling rates.

Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas said, “Our Mall of the Emirate’s Drive-In, has proven to be incredibly popular, not only when it was the only cinema in the MENA region that was operating, but even more recently as cinemas have started to open across Dubai. This has reminded us that our guests are missing the big screen movie experience, made even more impressive when set beneath the iconic Ski Dubai indoor ski centre, and accompanied by their favourite popcorns, nachos and Pepsis. We are very proud to partner with Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence to ensure that the VOX Cinemas Drive-In is a carbon neutral experience. Sustainability is a core pillar of Majid Al Futtaim, and VOX Cinemas is committed to finding sustainable ways to minimise our carbon footprint and protect our planet for future generations.”

Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer, at Majid Al Futtaim Holding commented: “The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt well into the future. As we look to rebound and rebuild businesses and economies, we must place as much emphasis, if not more, on social and environmental prosperity. This year’s World Environment Day is a great opportunity to take a brief step back from the COVID-19 headlines and raise awareness of the implications climate change has on our lives. For Majid Al Futtaim, it is an opportunity to influence sustainable behavior across our communities and ask our partners, tenants and suppliers to join the fight against climate change. Joining the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and VOX Cinemas to host the first carbon-neutral drive-in cinema screening is a testament to the power of collaboration to tackle the issue and drive impact.”

Tickets for the VOX Cinemas Carbon Neutral Drive-In can be booked on or through the VOX Cinemas iOS and Android app.


Contact Motivate Val Morgan for cinema advertising opportunities at the VOX Drive-In.



Source: Majid Al Futtaim (Press Release)


Related Article:

VOX Opens Rooftop Drive-in Cinema at Mall of the Emirates

VOX Cinemas Celebrates 20 Years

VOX Cinemas – owned and operated by the cinema arm of Majid Al Futtaim Group, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

As the largest and fastest growing cinema chain in the Middle East, VOX Cinemas presently operates over 500 screens across 49 locations in 8 countries across the MENA, and is in the midst of a Dhs1.2bn investment to expand its operation to a further 300 screens by 2020.

The cinema chain has also announced grand plans to invest Dhs1.96bn to develop 600 screens across Saudi Arabia by 2023.

We at Motivate Val Morgan would like to extend our best wishes to VOX Cinemas on this milestone and look forward to many more years of success as business partners.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business, Cameron Mitchell, CEO of VOX Cinemas, Toni El Massih, Chief Content Officer and Michelle Walsh, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer outline the company’s blockbuster performance over the last 20 years and why they stand strong despite the rise of streaming services.

The interview is as per below:

GB: What would you say are the three biggest highlights of the last 20 years for Vox?


Cameron Mitchell: “The first would be reopening Vox Mall of the Emirates in 2015. That cinema, even to this day, is one of the best cinemas in the world – if not the best in the world. And I think it was a massive step change from cinema as being just a place to watch movies to a place where you’re entertained. Everyone that walked in after the first week went ‘wow’ because of the LED, the graphics, the whole experience of that location.

“Number two was when we won the award for the ‘Best cinema in the world’ at Cinema Con in 2017. We are a small Middle Eastern cinema exhibitor – there’s companies around the world that are 30 and 40 times bigger than us – and for us to be invited to go to Las Vegas and be recognised as being best in the world was amazing.

“Number three would be Riyadh Park opening. There was a ban on cinemas in Saudi for 30 years and we were working with the government of Saudi Arabia for probably two years before the law changed to allow cinemas.

“Toni had hosted several teams of people from Saudi who came to Dubai and we introduced them to the UAE censors, design details and other aspects. And then roughly six months before the law changed, we approached the government and asked if we could build a four-screen cinema in a Magic Planet that we have in Riyadh – which they could use for testing. So, we committed to an investment of about $6m – $7m in advance of the law changing.

“The law changed about two weeks before we finished building the cinema. And we were the first multiplex cinema to open in Saudi Arabia after 30 years.

All of this is in line with Majid Al Futtaim’s DNA – the group is focused on the future and in always ensuring that we put our money where our mouth is and do what’s right for the business in the country.”


GB: You have ambitious plans for the Saudi market. How are you meeting such stiff targets?


Cameron Mitchell: “Normally the standard time for opening a cinema is about two and-a-half-years. But at the end of 2019, we had 90 screens open in Saudi Arabia and we’ll have 200 at the end of 2020. That’s because we are getting approvals to build these cinemas based on sketches and we’re actually designing it as we’re constructing the cinema.

“And it’s not from purely a financial perspective; we’re doing it because the government is sort of saying to us – ‘we’ve given you a licence and we’ve promised the people that you’re going to build cinemas, so please build them’.

“Most of us are working seven days a week to make sure that the standard of cinemas in Saudi Arabia is the best in the world. There’s about 10 licences granted to operators in Saudi, but as of today, we have 80 per cent market share of the screens in the kingdom.”

Michelle Walsh: “The Saudi story is also interesting because before that, we were a traditionally small market from a Hollywood Studios standpoint. But Saudi is suddenly this new frontier market.

“And more competition is coming in now, which just means we are going to have to work even harder. But we’re seeing what they’re bringing to the market and we still believe that our customer experience is far superior and our food and beverage is much better.”


GB: Can you elaborate more on your food and beverage offering? Has that been a key differentiator?


Michelle Walsh: “Food and beverage (F&B) is obviously a huge revenue stream for us and has been our focus for the last couple of years. We started with the collaboration with Gary Rhodes in Mall of the Emirates (THEATRE by Rhodes and GOLD by Rhodes), and working with him gave us a hospitality mindset. He pushed us to recruit better chefs, have better service standards and build better designed kitchens like the hotel grade ones.

“Recently, we also added food and beverage to our app to give people the chance to avoid queues. That’s a really complex process, especially for creating hot foods. So we had to completely transform our back-end operations.”

Cameron Mitchell: “You also have to look at each country individually in terms of how you serve customers, and what kind of food you might serve. For instance, in Saudi we have local chefs preparing Saudi food that has a certain sort of spice to it.

“One of the challenges in our industry is that everyone is showing exactly the same films. So for us, it has to be the other factors. What we can control is the seat, the experience, the service, the app, the food, the ambience in the foyer, the arrival experience, the exit experience and technology.”


GB: Another challenge has been the rise of streaming services, with ominous threats about the death of cinema. What are your thoughts on this?


Cameron Mitchell: “There was a little bit of nervousness a few years ago when there was one massively strong streaming company that looked like it would monopolise everything. Now, if you look, there’s multiple streaming platforms which have become what free TV used to be.

“There’s also been a lot of studies internationally that have said that streaming actually encourages people to go to the cinema more often. The experience of going to a cinema is different. If it’s just a place to watch movies, you might as well watch it at home. But we are focused on the experience – we want to be the fun, cool place to go and have fun with your friends and family.

“Also, in this region, you look at the mall culture and the social family environment we live in – everyone loves going out.”

Toni El Massih: “We also make sure that we offer content for everybody. So, it’s not only Hollywood films that we release. Out of India, every week, we have five different regional language films. We also cater to Europeans with French and Italian films and also release Korean and Chinese films. Recently, we also had a successful run with a Turkish film. We cater to all demographics.”


GB: Are you also getting into original content?


Toni El Massih: “Yes, we have partnered with Abu Dhabi’s Image Nation and NBC Saudi to produce regional content, with a focus on Egypt and Saudi Arabia. There is a strong appetite for Arabic content, but there’s hardly any films coming out of places like Saudi – this year, there’s only been one film.

“As of now, Arabic content comprises only 5 per cent of the total box office. So we are going to start producing a lot of original content and focus on commercial films. We’re not into documentaries yet, more so films that are going to attract the audience to come to the cinema.”


GB: Looking specifically at the Vox brand, when did you realise its strength and influence?


Toni El Massih: “The day we went from being Cinestar to VOX Cinema. That happened in 2011 and then we spent about six months working on the re-branding. That’s when we knew we had a very strong brand. We had a strong team, and we were confident about taking it forward and building it from there.”

Michelle Walsh: “Being part of the Majid Al Futtaim group gave us the impetus, the investment, the belief and the ambition to expand.”


GB: You have had a partnership with Motivate Val Morgan for cinema advertising since the beginning – for the last 20 years. How has the relationship evolved?


Cameron Mitchell: “Motivate, I think, is the only partner that we’ve had from day one, because they are clearly the best in the region at what they do. They are very closely aligned with us and everything we are doing, and they share that same sort of consumer focus that we have. Everywhere we go, they come with us.

“So now in the UAE, we have more than half of the market share of screens, in Saudi it’s about 80 per cent, we are about 85 per cent in Oman and in Bahrain, we’re about 60 per cent. In Lebanon, we’re about 20 per cent. We don’t disclose market share numbers for Egypt. In all of those places, Motivate’s our partner and they represent us for on-screen advertising. We have an amazing relationship with the team.”


We at Motivate Val Morgan would like to extend our best wishes to VOX Cinemas on this milestone and look forward to many more years of success as business partners.

Highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2019

The second edition of the MENA Cinema Forum – largest conference and exhibition dedicated to cinema in the MENA region, organized by Great Minds Events took place at Conrad Dubai from 22nd to 24th October 2019.


From conferences, workshops, corporate meetings, film slates, screenings, post-event receptions, an expo and awards ceremony, and much more, this year’s forum was on a much larger in scale – richer in content and designed to enhance the industry evolution through updates on regional projects and policies, technological and technical advancements in cinemas and best practices in next generation of customer experience and engagement, through a mixture of various content and mediums.


2019 witnessed over 60 speakers, 200+ C-Level Executives, 800+ attendees, 115+ sponsors and exhibitors from 50+ countries. 


Day 1 kicked off with an Opening Keynote by the Strategic Partner of the MENA Cinema Conference: Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.


The panel discussion on MENA Cinema Upcoming Project Updates included:


The panel also indulged in a live debate chaired by Jan Runge, MENA Cinema Chairman & Advisor, answering questions from the delegates and attendees at the forum.


Day 1 also featured a presentation focusing on ‘Cinema Strategies and Statistic Updates’ delivered by Rajkumar Akella, Managing Director, Comscore India (Movies)

His discussion included the following:


Ashish Shukla, the Chief Executive Officer of Cinépolis Gulf addressed the audience with project updates from the fastest growing international exhibitor in the region – Cinépolis. He also unveiled a new special and exclusive project and partnership in the UAE.


The event was held across 2 levels at the Conrad Dubai; one to host conference sessions and the other for exhibitors to showcase their products and technologies.


The Trade Show on Day 1 featured technical seminars on:


Day 2 included a mix of presentations and panel discussions that focused on:


Technical Seminars on Day 2 of the forum included:


Day 3 focused on regional content production, best practices in this field and regional and international collaborations. A series of 6 masterclasses addressed pertinent topics such as film financing, script writing, production and acting, catered to professionals and newcomers alike.


New to 2019 were workshops and masterclasses on key topics for a more interactive and hands-on learning experiences – delivered by global leaders to help enhance learning and growth opportunities at the forum.

The workshops held on day 3 covered range of topics and themes:


MENA Cinema Forum also hosted an Expo – The largest exhibition of its kind in the region, and amongst one the largest cinema expos globally, for the second time round, following the success of last year’s round.


The exhibition introduced interesting and interactive attractions including but not limited to floor talks, product demos, themed entertainment, mini-screenings, an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality zones, rest and refreshment parlors.


The Awards ceremony – presented by Comscore and co-presented by Dubai Studio City, are globally recognized and are a fixture of the big global conventions, and now in MENA. These awards are based on quantitative data measuring performance of all sectors and markets across the globe with identical metrics.


Here’s a list of this year’s winners:


Expanding its scope as an event for the cinema industry – with the aim to engage, wow and inspire, this year included several international and regional content screenings at VOX Cinemas – Mall of the Emirates and Reel Cinemas – Dubai Mall: International films such as The Addams Family, Terminator: Dark Fate, Leonardo – The Works and Zombieland: Double Tap. Other screenings included: local and regional content such as Son-Mother.


Pass holders were given the opportunity to interact with cast and crew of some of these feature films.


At the end of each day of the forum, post-event reception – in a themed setting, offered refreshment and entertainment in a fun and relaxed atmosphere for attendees to mingle and further nourish their friendships and business relationships.


Here’s a video with highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2019:


The next forum will be held in October 2020.

For more information on the MENA Cinema Forum visit



Sources: Zawya and MENA Cinema Forum



Related Article:

Highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2018

VOX Cinemas Opens at The Galleria Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s biggest VOX Cinemas opens at The Galleria Al Maryah Island


VOX Cinemas has added yet another location to its portfolio in Abu Dhabi. The brand new multiplex at The Galleria Al Maryah Island – located on the fourth floor of the North Atrium, opened its doors to cinemagoers on Thursday 5th September 2019.

VOX Cinemas – The Galleria Al Maryah Island offers an impressive 21 screens with a total seating capacity of 1,738 seats. The cinema is home to Abu Dhabi’s first IMAX screen (next-generation laser projection system to deliver stunning, crystal-clear images on the biggest screens for the world’s most immersive cinematic experience) and also includes Theatre by Rhodes (where fine food meets films) and Kids (designed especially for little movie lovers) screens. It is a cinema for all kinds of moviegoers – families with kids, luxury lovers and experience seekers.

VOX’s homegrown signature F&B outlets – Nutella Bar, Pizza Al Taglio and Kitchen 35, will also be available on site.



“VOX Cinemas continues to provide a compelling attraction for communities and our latest venture on Al Maryah Island is testament to its enduring appeal and success. We cannot wait for movie fans to experience our largest cinema in the capital and enjoy the many immersive cinema concepts we offer, including IMAX with Laser, an unrivalled and unmissable technology in the world of film,” commented Cameron Mitchell, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment.

The Galleria Al Maryah Island will reinforce Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas’ status as the fastest growing and most innovative cinema exhibitor in Abu Dhabi. The cinema exhibitor presently operates 440 screens across 44 cinema locations in UAE, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and KSA.

We at Motivate Val Morgan would like to congratulate VOX Cinemas on the opening of the cinema at The Galleria Al Maryah Island, and as the exclusive cinema advertising partner, welcome this new location to our circuit in the UAE.

Contact us for more information on cinema advertising opportunities at VOX Cinemas –  The Galleria Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi.


Related Articles:

New VOX Locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi



Source: albawaba (Business)

GCC Cinema Industry Continues to Grow

Globally there are more than 150,000 operational cinema screens and the GCC accounts for 1,300 of them. Research by PwC estimates that more than 1,000 cinema screens are expected to launch over the next three to five years, and the total number of cinema screens are expected to increase by 38.4 percent in the MENA region.

Another study by PwC indicated that the box office revenue in the MENA region exceeded $500 million, which accounted for approximately 1.25 percent of the global box office revenue (US$39.92 billion) in 2017 – up three percent from 2016. With a growing population across the GCC and an increasing level of investment by both regional and international cinema exhibitors, the cinema industry is set to thrive over the years ahead.

The deregulation of Saudi Arabia’s film industry in 2018 has opened up a billion-dollar market for cinema exhibitors and film distributors. The undoing of this law will also present movie distributors with a tremendous opportunity – to exhibit in an additional market which happens to be the largest of all GCC countries, and allow brands to add cinema – a new, effective and unrivalled platform, to its media mix for greater reach.

According to Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, VOX Cinemas – which presently operates 355 cinema screens, will invest Dh2 billion and add 600 cinema screens in Saudi Arabia.

“All eyes in the industry are on Saudi Arabia right now,” he said. “We will invest $100 million in a year to open 100 cinema screens – part of the Dh2 billion plan to open 600 cinema screens in Saudi Arabia in the next three to five years. Overall, we will operate around 1,200 cinema screens across the region in five years’ time. With the Saudi market opening, we see a lot of opportunities in the region’s cinema and entertainment industry.”

With Arabic being the predominant language amongst Saudi nationals, local filmmakers and content writers – with the help of other creative talent across the region, will also be encouraged to produce more Arabic movies.

Filmmaking Talent in GCC

Image credits: Abu Dhabi World Online


Not only is cinema an ideal environment – distraction and disruption free, to watch new movie releases, but it’s also a place where movie-lovers frequent when wanting to experience unique concepts and technology on offer – 3D, 4DX and Dolby Atmos to name a few. Cinemas across the region also offer luxury experiences – which include a selection of fine food and drinks, for movie lovers with higher spending power.

GCC Cinema Experience


Going to the cinema has now become a popular pastime across the GCC, with cinemagoers also watching more than one movie per week, which can be attributed to the promotions by both banks and telecom providers across the region – similar to that of ‘Buy one, get one free’ with HSBC, ‘50% off on Saturdays’ by Visa in Bahrain and ‘du Tuesday’ in the UAE. With audiences now being able to watch the latest movie releases in an affordable, comfortable, luxurious and memorable way, cinema admissions across the region can expect to witness steady growth over the years ahead.

Despite the proliferation of movie streaming platforms and the abandonment of cable, population trends indicate that cinema is still the preferred platform to watch new movie releases – premium first run content. Aside from being one of the fastest growing regions in the world, it is also one of the youngest, with over 50% of the region’s population under the age of 25 years. The younger generation tends to spend more on watching movies at the cinema, and in years to come, it will be this segment of GCC ‘s population that will drive the region’s cinema industry to new heights, allowing it to capture a larger share of the global box office.

With a mega line-up of blockbuster releases – such as Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Lion King, X-Men, Fast and the Furious, Toy Story 4 andStar Wars (to name a few), 2019 is predicted to be another record-breaking year – most likely attracting larger audiences between the ages of 16-34 years.

Motivate Val Morgan offers advertisers a regional cinema circuit – spanning across UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and has the expertise to strategically plan a marketing campaign to engage cinemagoers at every stage of the cinema experience.

Find out more on our offerings – onscreen, offscreen and cinevations, and contact us to bring your brand to life on the big screen.



Source:Arab Health  and Khaleej Times

VOX Cinemas Opens at Red Sea Mall in Jeddah

On Monday 28th January 2019, VOX Cinemas opened its doors to the very first cinema in Jeddah at Red Sea Mall.

The multiplex, with a seating capacity of over 1,400 seats, features 12 screens in total and includes Saudi Arabia’s largest IMAX viewing experience, three Gold Class screens and a Kids screen.


VOX Cinemas Opens a New Cinema at Red Sea Mall in Jeddah


Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas, said Saudi Arabia has the capacity for high audience numbers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at Red Sea Mall, Mitchell stated: “If you look at Dubai we have some 15 million customers there per annum. On the short-term goal in Saudi Arabia we are expecting the market to reach about 30 million customers.”

Research from PwC Middle East in November 2018 estimated that that total cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia would reach $1.5 billion by 2030. The forecast was based on a projected 2030 population of 39.5 million, and 6.6 screens per 100,000 people.

Last year, VOX Cinemas announced it would be investing $533 million to open 600 theaters in the next five years.

“Some 95 percent of our employees here are from Saudi Arabia. In any country where we operate cinemas, we localize the team. We have an Egyptian team in Egypt and a Lebanese team in Lebanon and of course Saudis in Saudi Arabia,” said Mitchell.

“We expect the cinemas in the Red Sea Mall to be showing…a mix of films, probably about 300 films per year with at least six new movies every single week. It will take a while for us to have enough cinemas for everyone to get to go to the cinema whenever they want to.

“In my opinion, the cinema is a good place for families to spend time together in a social environment, especially in hot summer days, when outdoor activities are limited.”

The new multiplex in Jeddah will offer cinema enthusiasts the opportunity to watch some of the world’s biggest blockbuster movies, and according to Mitchell, there would be no issues in relation to gender segregation as there are cinemas for families and separate ones for bachelors.


Here’s the walk-through video of VOX Cinemas – Red Sea Mall:


And a glimpse of the opening ceremony of VOX Cinemas – Red Sea Mall:

تم افتتاح ڤوكس سينما، أول سينما في جدة!

شكراً لضيوفنا الكرام الذين حضروا حفل افتتاح ڤوكس سينما #رد_سي_مول. تم افتتاح أول سينما في جدة ونحن متشوقون لخدمتكم جميعاً ابتداءً من اليوم! أضخم الأفلام وأفضل التجارب في انتظاركم في ڤوكس سينما، رد سي مول. احجزوا تذاكركم عبر #ڤوكس_سينما_السعودية #ڤوكس_جدةThank you to our esteemed guests who attended the grand opening of VOX Cinemas, Red Sea Mall, and those who tuned in! The first cinema in Jeddah awaits you with the biggest blockbusters and amazing experiences. Book your tickets now at Jeddah

Posted by ‎VOX Cinemas KSA ڤوكس سينما السعودية‎ on Tuesday, 29 January 2019


VOX Cinemas- Riyadh Park Mall has been operational since May 2018, and Motivate Val Morgan is the official cinema advertising partner of VOX Cinemas at both locations in the Kingdom.

Contact us for more information on cinema advertising opportunities in KSA.

For more information on locations and movie timings, visit


Related Articles:

VOX Cinemas Opens in Saudi Arabia at Riyadh Park Mall



Sources: Arab News and VOX Cinemas

Dubai Cinemas Hold their Own in the Battle of Audiences

2017 was an exceptionally good year for ticket sales and 2018 could offer a repeat, says Cameron Mitchell, CEO of  Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas.


In Dubai, the web or TV is not winning the war in what people watch or how they want to watch it. Ticket sales at local cinemas have just had another solid year of growth in 2017, and 2018 could be in for another “high single-digit” run – with releases such as Black Panther pulling them in, it could well be the case.

“Certain cities in the region have a high screen (capacity) per million people, which is one measure we use in the industry,” said Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Cinemas at Majid Al Futtaim group. “And Dubai is one of those which also has a high (cinema) attendance per capita.

“With growth in real estate and in residential development, more screens are being added. Just drive along Al Khail Road and you see the amount of development that is taking place — and it is directly linked to population (growth expectations) and of affordability.

“Cinema is still the most affordable entertainment — at $10 (Dh35) for two hours, it is still the case. And this has remained unchanged since 2011, which was the last time ticket rates were raised, and that too only by Dh5.

“The industry looks at the issue of ticket prices periodically … but we are not expecting any change at the moment.”

The group operates the VOX Cinemas network and currently has 95 screens in Dubai, 40 screens in Abu Dhabi, 9 screens in Ajman, 11 screens in Fujairah and 8 screens in Ras Al Khaimah. A total of 163 screens in the UAE, with plans to double it in the medium-term.

The UAE has over 400 operational screen (as of February 2018), and Dubai alone has over 200 operational screens – with many more set to open in the near future. Master-developers such as Emaar and Meraas have their own multiplex operations – through Reel Cinemas and Roxy Cinemas (respectively), and it sure makes sense for developers who are building up entire self-contained destinations to have those cinemas as well.

Clearly, cinema operators do not see web-streaming TV as a dire threat to their numbers – at present and in the future. “I think there’s a big difference between sitting at home on a couch and watching something on TV and being at one of our entertainment destinations,” Mitchell said.

“For mall developers/owners, this helps bring more people to their properties. Cinemas can be a really attractive anchor proposition. But they remain an expensive business.

“So long as cinema operators keep focusing on the guest experience and the movie experience, I can only see growth happening. Essentially, it’s about offering the experience.

“You could argue that anything you have in a restaurant; you can technically have it at home. But we still would like to go out for dinner. And look at the Starbucks business in the region — they keep adding more locations. Even though you can have a great cup of coffee from an espresso machine and which would be cheaper (than at Starbucks).”

For VOX Cinemas, it does not stop with just putting up a screen at one of Majid Al Futtaim’s mega-malls in the making. VOX has been working on the product mix; creating a premium ‘Theatre by Rhodes’ and ‘Gold by Rhodes’ and offering menus curated by chef Gary Rhodes — he of the Michelin star fame.


Theatre by Rhodes Cinema Experience by VOX Cinemas


“So if someone is making a plan to go out to dinner and take in a movie, why not do it together? That’s the proposition we had put forth with the Rhodes alliance,” said Mitchell.

And then there are the VOX kids screens, which come with their own party room.


Teen Screens

Next month, VOX Cinemas will again be experimenting with a new concept — screens for teens. This will be at its brand new facility in Kuwait (The Avenues Mall developed by Al Shaya Group). The concept originated in-house.

“They feature a different design with a shared couch and — given the demographic — with an extremely tech-friendly environment. They can have access to gaming and watch wrestling or concerts on the screen. With teens, everything is a shared experience. Plus, there are the movies, of course.”

After debuting in Kuwait, VOX Cinemas has plans to spread the teen screen concept out elsewhere. However, no definite timeline has been set for this.

“What we are making at the cinemas is a multi-purpose environment — where you could come to watch 400 films a year or come for myriad other activities. That’s your choice,” said Mitchell.


Mall owners and cinema operators wait for the screens to light up

If there is one detail that animates the region’s cinema industry, it would be Saudi Arabia’s plans to allow screens back into business.

“We are all waiting for some guidance from the Saudi Government,” to know what will be permitted for screening and how the cinemas should look,” said Mitchell

“The Vision 2030 plan is very clear — citizens in Saudi Arabia should enjoy the same entertainment as the rest of the world and that it wants to work with private operators to make it happen. We expect that the first cinemas will be released within six months of the legislation being released.”

The Majid Al Futtaim Group is currently committed to develop two malls in Riyadh, for a combined investment of SR14 billion.


Motivate Val Morgan is the official cinema advertising partner of VOX Cinemas – except for the cinema at City Centre Bahrain.



Source: Gulf News and MVM Stats