Four years since the kingdom lifted a ban on theaters, local rivals have moved ahead of the U.S. giant.
The Saudi Kingdom market is proving difficult for the world’s largest cinema chain, which was expected to dominate a region with no other major global players.
AMC’s experience illustrates how Saudi Arabia remains a difficult place for Western companies to do business, even despite the country’s efforts to woo international business with legal and social changes.
AMC said it would open up to 20 theaters by the end of last year, but currently has 10 running, with about 65 screens. Its two biggest competitors, Saudi brand Muvi and Dubai-based Vox Cinemas, run around 150 screens despite AMC winning a license to operate and without AMC’s direct government support. According to investment bank Saudi Franchi Capital, three other firms are building cinemas, and three more have obtained licenses, making Saudi Arabia a competitive market.
Main image credit: via Fayez Nureldine / AFP Photo