US-based IPIC Theaters Receives License to Engage in Cinema Venue Operation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
On April 15, 2020, IPIC Theaters, LLC. is now the eighth licensee and only luxury theater brand licensed to operate in the Kingdom.
BOCA RATON, Florida, July 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Due to its unique offering, IPIC Theaters has been awarded the first 100% foreign owned license. IPIC Theaters, under it’s subsidiary IPIC Saudi, LLC., is keen to identify and work with appropriate partners in Saudi Arabia. As such, it will continue to meet with potential partners to manage and operate theaters in Saudi Arabia.
In 2018, the Kingdom announced lifting restrictions of a 35-year ban on cinema as part of a social and economic programing reform, aiming to develop an entertainment sector that allows Saudis to engage in experiential and social offerings while also improving the economy. Cinema is expected to contribute SR90bn ($24bn US) by 2030 including 30,000 permanent jobs and 130,000 temporary jobs, with the goal to increase household spend on entertainment from 2.9% to 6%. Saudi Arabia’s 34.8M population is very young by international standards with many of its students having spent time studying abroad, seeking both cultural and entertainment experiences, making cinema a valuable sector for the Kingdom.
In a little over two years since the announcement, IPIC will now become the first luxury theater to enter into the Saudi market. IPIC is uniquely positioned compared to competitors expanding into Saudi Arabia. In the United States, IPIC offers guests a premium dine-in cinematic experience with smaller viewing rooms, typically in auditoriums of 40-80. “Our theaters offer a personalized cinematic experience that is thoughtfully designed to maximize the guest experience including individual aisles leading to pod-style seating, and chef-inspired cuisine,” shared Paul Safran, CEO and General Counsel. “We believe our concept is well-positioned within today’s ever-increasing experiential economy.”
The announcement comes during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, IPIC’s layouts naturally reduce the capacity of the theater from 24%-57% per auditorium compared to traditional theaters. “IPIC designs and layouts organically allow for social distancing between parties with pod-style seating that separates guests, wider rows and individual aisles leading to seats, as well as smaller auditorium sizes,” said Safran. Reception of IPIC locations that have reopened in the United States has been positive, offering guests nostalgic classic film content and limited new releases.
The license allows IPIC to expand internationally and continue to build its premium cinematic experience portfolio. Due to the size of the potential market, Saudi Arabia was the natural choice for the first operations outside the United States. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and the closing of theaters, average attendance at cinemas in Saudi Arabia was considerably higher than any other market. “We are actively entertaining conversations with potential partners and looking forward to the opportunity to expand our luxury cinema experience to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia soon,” said Safran.
About IPIC Theaters, LLC.
IPIC Theaters, LLC. is America’s premier theater-and-restaurant brand. A pioneer of the dine-in theater concept, IPIC® Theaters’ mission is to provide visionary entertainment escapes, presenting high-quality, chef-driven culinary and mixology in architecturally unique destinations that include premium movie theaters and restaurants. IPIC Theaters offers guests several tiers of premium leather reclining seating, including chaise lounges and pod seating. IPIC Theaters currently operates 7 restaurant locations and 14 dine-in theater locations with 107 screens in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington, and a new location planned for Atlanta, Georgia in late 2020. For more information, visit www.IPIC.com.