Despite the fact that the kingdom plans to open its first movie theater in March of this year, Saudi nationals and expats got the opportunity to attend the screening of the Sony-backed animated comedy film "The Emoji Movie."
The animated film was screened alongside "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" as a double bill.
Authorities created a theater-like setting for the cinematic screening which included a projector, a red carpet, and a popcorn machine at the state-run cultural hall in Jeddah.
"Until now, there is no infrastructure for movie theaters, so we are trying to take advantage of [alternative] venues to approximate the cinematic form," said Mamdouh Salim, whose 'Cinema 70' brand organized the week-long screenings, according to Reuters.
Authorities plan to open 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens across the kingdom by 2030, in hopes to build an industry that will contribute more than 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) to the economy.
Industry experts have also said that as many as 20,000 jobs could be created. Prior to the ban lift, thousands of Saudis traveled to neighboring Bahrain for entertainment.
Just weeks after it was announced that cinemas will be coming to Saudi Arabia, several regional and international cinema chains expressed interest in the market after the kingdom began issuing licenses for cinemas.
In December, the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund announced a deal with one of the world's largest exhibition companies, AMC, which owns the Odeon brand.
The Middle East's leading cinema provider, VOX Cinemas, has also thrown its hat into the ring.
"We are committed to developing VOX Cinemas in Saudi Arabia and to make sure that every one of our Saudi customers will have a VOX Cinema close to them where they will be able to experience what they have been experiencing outside Saudi Arabia – in Saudi Arabia," said Alain Bejjani, chief executive of VOX’s parent company Majid Al Futtaim, according to Arab News.