Saudi Arabia opens first movie theater with Black Panther screening
Screening will lift 35-year ban on cinemas in desert nation
For the first time since officials lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas in Saudi Arabia last year as part of a modernisation drive in the highly conservative kingdom, a cinema opened for a test screening Wednesday in Riyadh.
Movie theatres are set to open to the larger public next month.
Selected for the special occasion is the US blockbuster Black Panther, a superhero story following characters in the fictionalised African nation of Wakanda which has been smashing box office records since its release two months ago.
The move to re-open theatres comes as part of a reform package by the kingdom’s 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is likewise said to be behind the reforms that will see women driving in the country next June—a practice previously banned—as he has vowed the nation will return to “moderate Islam.”
Earlier in 2018, Saudi Arabia witnessed the first concert of many Egyptian singers, including Tamer Hosny. Last week, the Cairo Opera House prepared an artistic programme for its first visit to Saudi Arabia, which includes art created by great composers and poets, and will be performed by the opera’s stars, accompanied by the band led by maestro Mostafa Helmy.
The theatrical poster for Black Panther