‘Black Panther’ Will Be the First Movie Released in Saudi Arabia Following 35-Year Cinema Ban
Black Panther has been breaking all kinds of records since its release, swiftly overtaking many of this country’s top grossers and already crossing over $1 billion worldwide. Later this month, it’ll break some real-life barriers, as it is set to be the first film to open a movie theater in Saudi Arabia since the kingdom lifted its 35-year cinema ban.
Black Panther will herald the opening of Saudi Arabia’s first cinema in three decades on April 18, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That makes Disney — and its Middle East distribution partner Italia Film — the first studio to release a movie there since the ban was put in place. Black Panther will have a gala premiere in Riyadh at their first AMC theater, a converted symphony hall in the King Abdullah Financial District that seats 620.
Saudi Arabia announced the end of their ban on cinema in December, as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, who is seen as progressive in his politics, decreed the change as part of his Vision 2030 program. The Emoji Movie was the first modern film publicly screened in the country, at a temporary location in Jeddah’s cultural center. Black Panther will play for five days in Riyadh and will be followed by Avengers: Infinity War, which will be released there the same day as it’s released worldwide, on April 26.
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