AMC has reached an agreement to transition from a management and investment role in the Saudi Cinema Company to a pure licensing relationship. The current AMC Cinemas and future locations operated by SCC will retain the AMC Cinemas name and other IP through a licensing agreement.
In 2017, AMC announced it had issued a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, with the intention of exploring the possibility of bringing theatrical exhibition to the Kingdom for the first time since the 1980s. AMC hosted the country’s first movie screening on April 18, 2018, at King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh and agreed o develop and operate additional locations across the Kingdom.
During the next four years, AMC opened another 12 locations with more in the pipeline, guided the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, all along, hiring and training corporate functions and theatre management and staff with the purpose of eventually turning over operations to local management. As part of the agreement, Saudi Entertainment Ventures will buy-out AMC’s $30 million dollar investment in SCC.
AMC chairman and CEO Adam Aron said, “When the joint venture was created, it had two goals. First, to bring moviegoing to the Saudi people. Second, and equally important, to train a theatre management and corporate team such that at some point in the future, the enterprise could be run locally within the Kingdom. After more than five years since our first trip to Saudi Arabia and nearly five years since we opened our first theatre there, that point in the future is now. This agreement is the natural next step in this process.”
Aron continued, “During the last five years we’ve opened 13 beautiful theatres, hired, and trained so many Saudi nationals, endured a global pandemic, and, perhaps most importantly, helped bring movies to the Saudi people. In making this transition, we have enormous confidence in the team running these theatres and the venture is moving to the next stage exactly as we envisioned at the time we started.”