The number of movie theaters opening across Saudi Arabia - especially post its lift on a long-standing ban on cinema - prove this is the era of film in the kingdom.

The most recent one to launch has been dubbed as the "most luxurious movie theater in the Middle East." The cinema is the result of a collaboration between Majid Al Futtaim's VOX Cinemas and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Company

It is located in Riyadh's Kingdom Tower and features eight screening halls and VIP services. 

The Saudi prince was in attendance at the theater's opening ceremony and expressed his pride in the "progressive" changes that have been taking place in Saudi Arabia. 

In a tweet posted on Monday, the royal congratulated the kingdom's rulers and its Entertainment Authority for "leading the kingdom into the 21st century."

In an interview aired on Rotana Khalijiya's Ya Hala program, bin Talal expressed his excitement to invest in the rise of Saudi cinema. He also hailed the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, referring to him as the main catalyst behind positive changes in Saudi Arabia. 

"There's no doubt the launch of cinema as an industry in the kingdom is an incredibly important process and it comes as part of a larger vision put forth by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman who has taken Saudi out of the 18th century and driven it all the way to the 21st," he said.

"As his majesty said a few years back, we just entered the ordinary realm, when the kingdom lifted the ban on cinemas, allowed women to enter stadiums and drive cars, these are all social shake-ups that've created a social revolution," he added.

Saudis are pretty excited to check this cinema out

"I won't watch movies anywhere else." 

"A special move"

"Huge congratulations"

The Saudi era of cinema

Cinemas were banned in the early 1980s after a number of powerful clerics closed down existing ones across the kingdom. Prior to the 2018 ban lift, thousands of Saudis traveled to neighboring Bahrain for entertainment. 

The ban lift on cinemas in the country came at a time when its entertainment scene was transforming under the kingdom's General Authority for Entertainment.

The government-owned body was established in 2016 and is part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. Its main goal is to enhance the cultural and entertainment sector within the country.

In January 2017, the authority's former chairman Amr al-Madani stated that the ban on cinemas will be lifted in the kingdom, revealing movie theaters were expected to open soon. Over a year later, his statement turned into a concrete plan that is now a living reality.

The industry is alive and thriving in the kingdom, with studies estimating it's expected to generate $1.5 billion in revenue by 2030.