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 www.menacinema.com



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)

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 https://voxcinemas.info/2ScvAh4 #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 https://voxcinemas.info/2ScvAh4 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 https://ksa.voxcinemas.com/


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

VOX Cinemas Plans Major Gulf Expansion

Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas is set to invest AED1.2 billion ($330 million) through a series of acquisitions, organic expansions and a commitment to customer experience.

VOX Cinemas has secured 23 new locations, opening progressively over the next three years, with 2018 set to be the company’s most aggressive year yet, when it will open 16 locations with a total of 145 screens spanning seven countries in the MENA region.

The company said recent joint ventures in Oman and Bahrain have anchored the company as the region’s largest cinema entertainment provider.

This year’s expansion into Africa with Mall of Egypt in March and Qatar in April led the Middle East expansion, with further new cinemas in Bahrain and Kuwait opening in the next six months. New cinemas will also launch across the UAE.

Cameron Mitchell, CEO for Majid All Futtaim Cinemas said: “We are continuing to extend our unique offering to more movie lovers by doubling our screen count to over 600 across seven countries in the Middle East, creating more than 1,500 new jobs across the region by 2020. Recently, the company expanded its film distribution interests through a new partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Film across the region, and we are currently reviewing opportunities in film production for 2018, rounding off our vertical integration plans.”

Mitchell added that the company expanded its customer base by 50 percent in the last 12 months, expecting to end the year with 18 million visitors.

“We are excited to bring our branded concepts to several new locations, including Majid Al Futtaim’s City Centres Sharjah, Al Zahia (UAE) and Sohar (Oman), as well as in Al Ain and on Palm Jumeirah.”

Motivate Val Morgan is the official cinema advertising partner of VOX Cinemas.



Source: Arabian Business