Today: Saudi Arabia Prepares for First Public Cinema Opening in 35 Years

‘Black Panther’ is set to make history on Wednesday night in Riyadh, with 40 seconds of the film having been cut by local censors.

For Saudi Arabia’s film industry, April 18, 2018 should go down in history.

At roughly 9 p.m. in Riyadh (11 a.m. PT), around 600 guests will sit down in a refitted ultra-modern conference hall in the King Abdullah Financial District to watch Black Panther usher in a new cultural era for the country.

The Marvel superhero blockbuster — already a major cultural landmark — will add another historic string to its bow when it becomes the first film to get an official public screening in the kingdom at the first movie theater to open there for 35 years. Saudi Arabia lifted its decades-long cinema ban in December.

Awwad Alawwad, Saudi’s minister of culture and information who first announced the end to the ban, is set to attend the event, alongside Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, which won the first license to operate movie theaters in the kingdom and runs the Riyadh cinema, one of 350 expected to open across the country by 2030. THR understands that diplomats and industry experts will also be in attendance, although no Black Panther stars or other Hollywood figures have made the trip.

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Wakanda forever!


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