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The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train/Twitter

The Girl on the Train

The recently-launched psychological thriller The Girl on the Train will not be shown in Qatar’s cinemas, operators said today.

The film was due to be screened for the first time in Qatar last Friday, but cinema companies told Doha News that authorities asked them to not run it.

Trailers for the film show sex scenes, and the story revolves around the main character’s drinking problem.

This is the second film to be banned in Qatar this year.

In January, The Danish Girl was withdrawn from cinema listings with no official reason given.

The British film, featuring Eddie Redmayne, portrayed the life of a transgender Danish artist in the 1920s who undergoes one of the world’s first known sex reassignment surgeries.

The ban followed complaints from residents on social media, who criticized the movie for its “moral depravity.”

No official word

Speaking to Doha News, a representative from City Center’s Grand Cinecentre said they have not received any official reasons from the censorship board for the ban.

The cinema also stated that the film’s censorship certificate has not been released yet, but that the ban has been in effect since the weekend.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Flik Cinemas

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sports declined to comment to Doha News, but said it would provide an official statement on Monday.

The movie has also been banned in Kuwait.

Because the film was pulled at the last minute, several theaters still have it listed as playing on their websites, including at Villaggio, City Center, Al Khor and Gulf malls.

Novo Cinemas is even still tweeting about it, though the film has been removed from its site:

What it’s about

The Girl on the Train has received mixed reviews by critics.

Based on the debut novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, the film’s main character Rachel (played by Emily Blunt) is an alcoholic who divorced her husband after she caught him cheating on her.

She fantasizes about the lives of a couple Megan and Scott she sees from her commuter train every day.

One day, Megan goes missing and is presumed dead, and Rachel finds herself being pulled into the investigation.


The ban has upset some movie-goers in the community.

Over the weekend, one resident tried to watch the movie at City Center:

Many viewers weren’t surprised, given how frequently movies are censored in Qatar.


Explicit content or religious themes are typically the main reasons movies are banned or censored here.

Two years ago, The Wolf of Wall Street – which featured many gratuitous sex scenes, swearing and drug use – had nearly one-quarter of its scenes (or 50 minutes) cut out before it was shown in Qatar.

Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf of Wall Street/Facebook

Wolf of Wall Street

More recently, Qatar’s censors banned two biblical films, 2014’s Noah and Exodus.

While specific rules about what is regarded as permissible content remain unclear, there does appear to be strong support for removing adult content from films before they are screened in the country.

According to a 2014 survey by Northwestern University in Qatar, 80 percent of respondents said it’s appropriate to delete scenes that could be considered offensive.


Rendering of interior of Flik Cinemas

Flik Cinemas

Rendering of interior of Flik Cinemas

A four-screen cinema is scheduled to open to the public in Lagoona Mall later this month, its operators said.

It will be Qatar’s first branch of the Flik Cinemas chain, which plans to open three movie theaters across Doha by the end of 2017.

There is no definite date for the public launch of the Lagoona Mall cinema, but a spokesman for the operator, which is part of Al Mana Group, said they were “hopeful” it would be this month.

Speaking to Doha News, he said:

“The fit-out is 95 percent complete – we are just doing the last few details then we need to get the requisite permits. We are hoping for a September opening,” he added.

The new Flik multiplexes will add 20 new screens to Qatar, for a total of more than 2,500 seats.

This is in addition to the new cinemas planned to open soon at Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City and Tawar Mall. Together, those will offer a further 49 new screens to movie fans in the coming year.

Meanwhile, a 13-screen multiplex in Gulf Mall opened earlier this summer.

‘Gold and platinum’

Situated on the upper floor of the mall above Lagoona’s Pari Gallery, Flik Cinema is currently closed off with hoardings.

However, workers have apparently been busy this week putting the finishing touches on the place.

Flik cinema at Lagoona Mall

Lesley Walker / Doha News

Flik cinema at Lagoona Mall

In a statement announcing its imminent opening, Flik Cinemas described the Lagoona location as “the first platinum and gold class theater multiplex in the GCC.”

High-end comfort and convenience appear to be the focus of the four-screen, 172-seat theater.

The seats will be leather recliners with tables, similar to the “seven-star” experience offered at one of the theaters inside Novo Cinemas on the Pearl-Qatar.

Movie goers in platinum class will be able to order snacks and drinks via a personal iPad from a menu designed by Fauchon Paris and have them delivered to their seats.

Platinum class seats

Flik Cinemas

Platinum class seats

For those feeling cold from the air conditioning, blankets and pillows can be ordered too, the statement added.

Christie digital projection and Vive sound systems aim to provide viewers with one of the most high-tech cinema experiences.

Other openings

The Lagoona mall launch will be followed by a new, 1,000-seater, eight-screen Flik movie theater at Mirqab Mall in Al Sadd.

This is planned to open in the first quarter of 2017, a cinema spokesman told Doha News.

Meanwhile, a third multiplex, also with eight screens but which will have a capacity of 1,400 viewers, is expected to launch in Doha Mall in Abu Hamour in the last quarter of next year.

All will show a combination of Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic-language films.

Rendering of cinema interior

Flik Cinemas

Rendering of cinema interior

Tickets for these cinemas will be priced comparably to other existing movie theaters in Doha. Prices will start from around QR45 a ticket and rise to QR150 for a platinum seat.

“They will be a fair, market price,” he added.

Despite the proliferation of new movie theaters in Doha in the coming year, the new operator is positive that there is a market for this surge in supply.

He said:

“It’s not a fixed market. And people in the Middle East like to go to the movies. There are a lot of people coming to Qatar from neighboring countries who will go to see a film while they’re here.

We are confident that the market (in Qatar) will grow.”

Do you plan to check out the new cinema? Thoughts?

Gulf Mall

Peter Kovessy

Gulf Mall

With reporting from Peter Kovessy

Movie-goers in Qatar now have a new place to watch the latest releases, following the soft opening of another Qatar Bahrain International Cinema theater (Cineco) at Gulf Mall.

The 13-screen cinema is located on the second floor of Gulf Mall and includes two VIP theaters. Ticket prices start at QR35.

It’s currently among the largest cinemas in Qatar, but appears to be opening at a time when fewer people are going to the theater.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics, the number of movie-goers in Qatar rose from 2009-2013, but then dropped in 2014.

Movie-going in Qatar


Movie-going in Qatar

However, the data also shows that fewer films were screened in 2014, which may have discouraged some would-be movie goers from heading to the theater.

Other cinemas

That said, the cinema market has been rapidly expanding in Qatar.

In March for example, a three-screen cinema operated by Cineco launched inside Al Khor Mall.

Rendering of Doha Festival City

Doha Festival City

Rendering of Doha Festival City

And three other large theaters are expected to open in the coming year, including:

  • A 12-screen movie theater at Tawar Mall, which is located down the road from Landmark and Gulf malls and is expected to open by year-end;
  • A 19-screen VOX cinema complex that includes a 4D film experience at Doha Festival City, which is planning a February opening; and
  • A 19-screen theater at Mall of Qatar that includes IMAX and six VIP screens, and is scheduled to open in late October.

Gulf Mall’s Cineno movie timings can be found online. Thoughts?