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Saudi Arabia: First Movie Theater for Women and Children Only | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-The Kingdom’s first cinema will open in Riyadh during the Eid Al-Fitr holidays, but will show only cartoon films for women and children.

The cinema will start screening on Eid Al-Fitr day, Nov. 3 tentatively, at Intercontinental Hotel in the capital, Kamal Al-Khateeb, head of the media committee at Riyadh Municipality, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Al-Khateeb said that the 1,200-seat cinema will hold three one-hour shows to screen foreign cartoon films dubbed in Arabic every evening. The first show will start at 4 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. The second and third shows will start at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., he added.

The organizers will charge SR10 for a seat.

It estimated that more than 50,000 people would visit the cinema during the two-week break.

The project is a prelude to the start of real cinema screenings for all in Saudi Arabia, given that cafes in main cities already show films, sports games and video clips on large television sets.

Dr. Abdullah Dahlan, a writer, said he had not come across any law that bans running of cinemas in the Kingdom. He said cinemas existed in the country more than 50 years ago, but they disappeared in the past 15 years due to religious extremism.

Badr Al-Kuraim, a former member of the Shoura Council and a prominent media personality, said neither the media policy nor the press and publication law deals with cinemas and public screening of films.