The growing northern city of Al Khor is expected to get its first movie theater this fall, when a mall there opens a three-screen multiplex cinema in time for Eid al-Adha, toward the end of September.
Speaking to Doha News this week, Al Khor mall manager Navaneeth Sudhakaran said that the cinema will be able to accommodate some 600 movie-goers, with the halls seating 100-300 people each.
The theater was originally expected to open in April, but Sudhakaran said plans fell a bit behind schedule.
“Realistically speaking, we’re (now) in a much better place to open. All of the cinema’s ‘fitouts’ are done. All that’s remaining is a few approvals from governmental bodies, and we’re good to go in a week,” he added.
The expansion of recreational offerings in Al Khor is part of Qatar’s plan to cater to residents outside of the crowded capital city of Doha.
In addition to adding leisure activities, the country has also been improving healthcare services and building schools in satellite cities such as Al Khor and Al Wakrah.
According to Sudhakaran, Al Khor mall’s cinema halls can be rented out for private viewings, special screenings and to watch major sports events.
“Al Khor is a satellite city, mostly for communities, associations, and large families, so the small screen concept is what works here. Instead of VIP lounges or screens, we’ve decided to give people the option of booking the cinema for private viewings. A large family can reserve the theatre for a party or gathering,” he said.
The three halls are part of 47 new cinema screens scheduled to open before the end of the year, doubling the current number of screens the six theaters in Qatar have.
The Al Khor mall cinema will be operated by Cineco, a Bahraini company that currently manages 27 screens in Qatar, including at City Center and Villaggio malls.
The new Gulf Mall, next to Ezdan, is also set to have a 13-screen multiplex cinema run by Cineco sometime this fall, though the opening date remains tentative.
While ticket prices at Al Khor Mall have yet to be set, Sudhakaran said that they would probably be on par with prices at other Cineco-managed screens in Doha, which run about QR35/person.