Exhibition experts talk Middle East cinema trends and challenges

“Making hay while the sun shines” is how John Sullivan of cinema advisers The Big Picture characterizes the current state of theatrical exhibition in Saudi Arabia—a market that, bucking current worldwide cinema trends, is continuing to grow in the latter half of 2020 despite the presence of a global pandemic. Saudi Arabia, of course, is a rare case, as the country’s decades-long ban on public cinemas was lifted only in 2018; the wider MEAP region (Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan) was the subject of The Big Picture’s November webinar “Trends and Challenges in…

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Alamo Drafthouse auditorium. Photo: Alamo Drafthouse

More US chains offer private cinema rentals with Covid-19 measures

Alamo Drafthouse has become the latest chain to offer private rentals—joining U.S. circuits like Studio Movie Grill and Megaplex Theatres, among others, in their efforts to bring some business to select locations during the Covid-19 shutdown. Alamo Drafthouse opened private rentals on Thursday, July 6 at two of their locations: Slaughter Lake in Austin, Texas and Sloans Lake in Denver, Colorado. An auditorium can be reserved for $150 via Alamo’s website; each screening (limited to 30 people maximum) is subject to an additional $150 minimum food and beverage spend. General admission ticket prices are not…

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Novo Cinemas Doha. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Private rentals help cinemas transition to reopening

Imagine holding your own private movie screening on a huge cinema screen, with just a few family or friends. As movie theaters slowly start to return with strict social distancing measures still enforced, some cinemas have started offering exactly this option. “With Texas allowing us to open at 25% capacity, the idea allowed us to slowly bring our guests back into a safe and controlled environment,” says Annelise Holyoak, national director of marketing and communications for Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas. “Within about 12 hours almost all the spots were sold out.…

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