Black Panther to become first film released in Saudi Arabia in 35 years

The Marvel blockbuster will open in the country’s capital, Riyadh

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 05 April 2018 17:04 BST
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Black Panther, the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directed by Ryan Coogler
Black Panther, the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directed by Ryan Coogler (Rex)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Having already broken seemingly hundreds of box office records, Black Panther looks set to mark another landmark.

The Marvel blockbuster will reportedly become the first movie released into cinemas in Saudi Arabia in over 35 years.

Last year, Saudi Arabia announced the 35-year ban on movie theatres was finally coming to an end, the latest social push by the country's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Theatres were initially shut down during the 1980's following a wave of ultraconservatism, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia's clerics who viewed Western movies as sinful.

Disney and Middle East distribution partner, Italia Film, will release Black Panther in a brand new AMC theatre in the country’s capital, Riyadh.

However, Black Panther will not mark quite the first film publicly shown in the country since the ban was lifted – that honour goes to The Emoji Movie, a screening of which was held at a make-shift cinema earlier this year.

Following The Emoji Movie screening, Sultan al-Otaibi commented on the location rather than the movie,saying: “It’s more comfortable, more fun to have a change of scenery and an activity on the weekend. It is a step that was very late in coming but thank God it’s happening now.”

The substantially better Captain Underpants was screened next. Saudi authorities hope there will be at least 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens in the country by 2030.

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