The cinema industry in the Middle East and Africa starts to recover after
COVID-19 pandemic with robust health and safety protocols in place, and is set to grow against the backdrop of a steep decline in the global cinema industry
1. MENA box office revenues to hit US$1 billion by 2024 – the highest in the industry’s history;
2. Globally, the combined revenues in the box office industry plummeted by 28.5 percent to roughly $31 billion last year, from $42.5 billion in 2019;
3. The number of cinema screens in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow to 2,500 screens by 2030;
4. META Cinema Forum will welcome participants and celebrities with red carpet on October 26 and continue until October 28, 2021.
The cinema industry stakeholders are getting ready to join the only dedicated cinema convention in the META region, the 4th META Cinema Forum which takes place from October 26-28, 2021 at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai.
The three-day mega cinema industry convention takes place just a few weeks into Dubai Expo 2020 – the largest event in the Middle East and Africa region and will address key issues and highlight the development of the cinema industry. The Middle East and Africa region has one of the fastest growing entertainment industries in the world and where governments are investing heavily to diversify economies and reduce dependency on a single economic sector.
The event will bring all the stakeholders on a single platform to brainstorm the recovery of the industry and identify opportunities going forward. It will host seminars, awards, premieres of new movies, as well as showcasing new products and exclusive slate content presentations.
To celebrate the recovery of the cinema industry post-pandemic, post-event receptions and parties will allow stakeholders to enjoy fun-filled casual networking sessions. The forum has the continued participation and support of VOX Cinemas, the region’s largest cinema exhibitor.
Ignace Lahoud, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim, Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas, said, “VOX Cinemas is proud to continue its partnership with the META Cinema Forum, which gathers key players and thought leaders from the industry to provide their perspectives, share knowledge and discuss the most pertinent issues in the region. The industry is experiencing a resurgence and admissions are on the upswing with the release of much-awaited blockbusters and local films. We are looking to the future with confidence as the region is set to become an important contributor to the global box office. The META Cinema Forum has established itself as an important event for the industry and will provide valuable insights for its continued success in the future.”
Research data analysed by finance website Finaria also showed that globally the combined revenues in the box office industry plummeted by 28.5 percent from $42.5 billion in 2019 to approximately $31 billion last year.
This reflects a shift in the global cinema industry landscape where growth has traditionally been driven by the countries outside of the MENA region. However, expansion throughout the Arab world and Middle East, specifically in Saudi Arabia, has unlocked a lucrative economic opportunity and Saudi Arabia has now become a major contributor to the growth of the global cinema industry.
“As life returns to normal following an 18-month COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy to announce that the 4th META Cinema Forum is getting ready to welcome all industry stakeholders in Dubai – where we have lined up an exciting series of fun-filled events including thought-provoking discussions, and film premieres,” Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Minds Event Management, says. “The forthcoming edition of the META Cinema Forum will set the tone for the industry recovery, growth and development of the film entertainment industry as governments and the private sector players are mobilising resources for the next stage of the development of the cinema industry in the Middle East and Africa region.”
Cinema box office revenues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are expected to grow by 4 percent to US$ 1 billion (Dh3.7 billion) by 2024, compared to a 2.4 percent decline worldwide, according to a report by global auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC).
Cinemas in many markets are still closed and few countries have opened cinema halls. However, unlike many other markets, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) box office was up 3 percent to US$115 million in 2020, PwC says in a report.
META Cinema Forum, will focus on the challenges faced by the cinema industry, changing trends as well as focusing on the new cinema projects that will drive the growth of the industry.
META Cinema Forum is backed by all the leading industry players. The event is supported by Pan-African Film Consortium while VOX Cinemas is once again Strategic Partner. Other leading exhibitors including AMC Cinemas, MUVI Cinemas, Cinepolis Gulf, Novo Cinemas, Cinemarine, StarzPlay, FilmHouse Cinemas, Cinepax, ROXY Cinemas, Carnival Cinemas, Empire Cinemas, Silverbird Cinemas and Women in Exhibition have also come on board as Cinema and Event Partners.
Ghost Busters is premiering here as part of the META Cinema Forum – two weeks ahead of the release in the US! META Cinema Forum will also be premiering King Richard.
Besides, a special screening of the timely movie – My Childhood, My Country – 20 Years in Afghanistan, comes at a time when Afghanistan is very much in the news. This comes for the first time in the region and VOX will be screening the film for a few weeks at selected screens here. This title is doing rounds in major film festivals and has already won several accolades and recognitions. The proceeds from the film ticket sales will be going back to support those in need in Afghanistan during this difficult time there.
In addition to these, African films Room 5, Tutu, Aloevera and Akorkoli will bring the best of the African films to our audiences.
About META Cinema Forum:
META Cinema Forum is the largest cinema convention, covering Middle East and African markets. The event has grown over the years to include more regions, more projects, more partners and become the single most important regional gathering for the cinema sector.
The 4th edition is back bigger and better than ever, with more sessions covering various markets in detail, an expanded convention floor, and of course a stronger lineup of slates, product presentations and film features.
To celebrate the recovery of the cinema industry post the pandemic era, many post event receptions and parties will allow for a fun filled casual networking for all stakeholders.