‘Black Panther’ Breaks Saudi Arabia’s 35-Year Cinema Ban
The successful Marvel movie Black Panther will be the first movie to be screened in Saudi Arabia’s public movie theaters.
For 35 years, there has been a ban on public screenings due to religious concerns, however, that ban was reversed in December of last year. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided to change the ban in attempt to transform Saudi society. The first movie played in Saudi Arabia since the reversal was The Emoji Movie, however, it was shown in a state-ran cultural center. Black Panther will be the first movie shown in a public movie theater.
The movie’s premiere will take place on April 18 in AMC’s first Saudi Arabian theater, which was built in the King Abdullah financial district of Riyadh, the country’s capital. It will kick off a new era of cinema in Saudi Arabia. Due to it being a historic moment for modern Saudi Arabia, the movie will receive a gala opening.
The theater’s original intent was to be a symphony concert hall, however became a theater instead. The main theater will feature more than 600 leather seats, both on orchestra and balcony levels as well as marble bathrooms.
AMC Theaters is planning to move swiftly into Saudi Arabia following the premiere of Black Panther. Dalian Wanda, the Chinese conglomerate that owns AMC Entertainment, has plans to open 40 more theaters in Saudi Arabia in the next five years, and about 100 theaters by 2030.
Black Panther has been breaking numerous records since its global release in February. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie has earned over $1.2 billion in global sales, making it the tenth highest-grossing film in history. It is also the most tweeted about film ever, it has over 35 million mentions on Twitter. It is also only $5 million away from beating out James Cameron‘s The Titanic for the third highest earning film.