In a new boost for Saudi Arabia’s entertainment industry, Lux Entertainment, the alliance of Al-Hokair Group, Cinepolis Cinemas, and Al-Tayer Group, was granted the fourth cinema operating license from the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM).

The Kingdom had ended its 35-year ban on cinemas and opened its first new cinema last April in Riyadh.

The Development and Investment Entertainment Company, in partnership with the world’s largest provider and operator of movie theaters, AMC, was granted the first cinema operating license. The second license was awarded to U.A.E.-based Majid Al Futtaim’s Vox Cinemas, while the third one went to Al Rashed Empire Cinema Consortium.

Lux Entertainment has a plan to build 300 screens in 15 cities around the Kingdom to offer a multi-faceted cinema experience including luxury halls, infant cinema, and low cost operating movie theaters, in alignment with the rules and regulations of GCAM.

Alliance member Cinepolis is the fourth largest international cinema operator worldwide, with 652 movie theaters in 14 countries around the world, while Al Tayer Group is one of the leading companies in the field of retail operation in the UAE and the GCC.

Saudi Arabia plans to set up 350 cinemas with over 2,500 screens by 2030, boosting the movie-going industry to $1 billion in market value, as part of the Kingdom’s modernization drive that aims to wean its economy away from its reliance on petrochemicals.

Earlier this year, AMC Theatres partnered with Public Investment Fund (PIF) to open 30 to 40 cinemas in 15 cities over the next five years and 50 to 100 cinemas in total across 25 cities by 2030.

While Dubai-based VOX Cinemas too has agreed to invest over $540 million to open 600 screens in the next five years in Saudi Arabia, and South Korean media conglomerate CJ 4DPLEX inked a deal with Middle East-based cinema operator Cinemacity to open three 4DX cinema locations in Riyadh and other Saudi cities by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Al Rashed Empire Cinema Consortium has announced plans to open 30 new theaters in various cities across Saudi Arabia.