Based on the project timelines of 240-280 days, the Empire Cinemas in Al Ahssa, Madina and Riyadh are expected to open in summer 2022.
Havelock One Interiors, a turnkey fit-out contractor in the Middle East, has been contracted by Lebanese cinema chain Empire Cinemas to set up three major multiplexes in Saudi Arabia at a total investment of $25m in Riyadh, Madinah and Al Ahssa.
The multiplex at capital Riyadh will be located inside the Othaim Mall Rabwah featuring 10 screens and 1,254 seats over a 4,785 sqm area, while the 10-screen facility at Madinah will come up in Al Rashid Mega Mall featuring 744 seats on a 3,250 sqm area. Havelock One Interiors said the cineplex at Al Ahssa will be located at the Othaim Mall featuring eight screens and 714 seats over a 2,886 sqm area.
After completing projects in Jizan and Al Khobar, the regional interior contractor has been entrusted by the entertainment specialist with bringing more of its cinemas to life. The fit-out work has all been conceptualised by Empire’s long-standing design partner, DNA Architects & Planners, a major Lebanese architectural and interior design firm.
In 2019, Empire Cinemas celebrated its 100th anniversary by entering the Saudi market, following a call by the Development Investment Entertainment Company (DIEC) to establish and advance the cinema sector in Saudi Arabia. Its first venue in Saudi Arabia was a 10-screen, 728-seat multiplex at Al Rashed Mall in Jizan, thus marking a milestone for the family business, founded by visionary Georges N Haddad.
Commenting on the award of the latest projects, Gino Haddad, CEO of Empire Cinemas, said: “We are proud to be collaborating again with Havelock One, following the successful outcome of our Al Khobar and Jizan venues. Havelock One has proven to be a reliable fit-out partner, with excellent onsite management skills, and prompt delivery timelines.”
Given its track record as a premium turnkey service provider in the cinemas and indoor entertainment space, Empire said it had selected Havelock One for its debut project which had to be built within 280 days, covering supply, installation and the commissioning of architectural and interior decoration, joinery and MEP works.
Later, a contract for the recently completed Empire Cinemas at Al Rashid Mall in Al Khobar, followed, a much larger and more complex project featuring 18 theatres, including three auditoria for kids, two Dolby Atmos movie theatres, three VIP and one immersive 4DX cinema, covering a total space of more than 6,200 sqm.
Syed Kashif Akhtar, Group Managing Director of Havelock One, added: “In the business of service delivery, nothing is a better testimony of a job well done than repeat business. We are grateful and pleased that our manufacturing in Bahrain and our fit-out teams in KSA keep on delivering for prestigious entertainment clients such as Empire Cinemas.”
Dany G Daoud, Managing Director of DNA, stated: “For Jizan, due to a corner location, we extended the entrance to the mall’s common area to maximise the visual perception. A sculpted trail consisting of digital screens, dynamic motion light effects and Empire’s prominent self-ticketing kiosks further increased the appeal of the movie theatre for shoppers and mall visitors. The design of the Al Khobar multiplex even incorporates a more abstract dimension; the fact that the city is built on the crossroads of different highways, connecting Al Khobar with Dhahran-Jubail and Bahrain-Dammam, has been reflected in a transitional walk. More tangible aspects of the city, like its long corniche and industrial history, have shaped the urban language and an outdoor street atmosphere of the cinema’s interiors.”
Nigel Wilson, Division Director of Havelock One KSA, noted: “Joining forces with Empire and DNA is always a great, rewarding challenge. They have truly understood how to engage and excite a young and entertainment-hungry crowd that is just at the beginning of its evolution.” He further elaborated, “Over the two previous projects, Empire, DNA and the Havelock One team have become truly accustomed to each other’s way of working. Now, this can be all brought together to provide a blueprint for seamless, integrated and collaborative delivery.”
Based on the project timelines of 240-280 days, the Empire Cinemas in Al Ahssa, Madinah and Riyadh are expected to open in summer 2022.