Connect
To Top

At 2 p.m. ET today, 600 guests enjoyed Black Panther at the first movie theater to open in Saudi Arabia in 25 years. The refitted conference hall in the King Abdullah Financial District of Riyadh welcomed an audience where men and women were allowed to sit next to one another to watch the movie, another landmark decision for the Middle Eastern nation.

Advertisement

The choice to open Saudi Arabia up to the Hollywood does come with its caveats. For instance, 40 seconds of the original Black Panther were cut by local censors.

Last year, Saudi officials said movies “will be subject to censorship according to media policy standards of the Kingdom,” to ensure any film screened there complies with their values and principles and did not contradict Sharia, or Islamic, law.

Additionally, today’s event followed a strict schedule of socializing, prayer, ribbon cutting, inauguration, and movie watching. While some diplomats and industry experts made the journey to Saudi Arabia for the historical screening, none of the Black Panther cast or crew along with any prominent Hollywood names attended.

The largest movie theater company in the United States, AMC, hosted the Black Panther gala screening. In the months ahead, AMC is expected to open three additional screens at the cinema and show a wider range of movies for audiences to view.

“We’re going to show typical Hollywood blockbusters that are very popular in the United States and Europe and elsewhere in the world,” AMC CEO Adam Aron shared with CNN. “Hollywood has been showing movies in the Middle East for a long time [and] has proven that it can be sensitive to the local cultures here and in the region.”

The decision to reopen movie theaters in Saudi Arabia was made to reduce the nation’s economic dependence on oil and stimulate growth, eventually adding jobs and increasing entertainment options for Saudis.

“The economy will benefit greatly as fewer nationals will exit to watch movies and be entertained,” said John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh. “Younger people and older people will be flooding to the place to see the show,” he added.

The country’s Ministry of Culture estimates that Saudi Arabia will have 350 movie theaters by 2030. Over the next five years, AMC plans to open another 30 cinemas. Also, Vue International hopes to build another 30 theaters for moviegoers in Saudi Arabia.

Advertisement

Advertisement


More in News

  • Sophie Turner Quitting Acting

    The Game of Thrones actress has been done filming Season 8 since last summer, and apparently she’s been on a hiatus...

    Katie RosbottomApril 17, 2019
  • Hoda Kotb Adopts Her Second Child

    Following Tuesday morning’s episode of Today, the co-anchor announced via phone that she has adopted a second child, a daughter named...

    Katie RosbottomApril 16, 2019
  • Wendy Williams Files for Divorce

    Yesterday, it was confirmed that the daytime talk show host has officially filed for divorce from her husband of over two...

    Katie RosbottomApril 12, 2019
  • Nipsey Hussle Memorial Service Draws Thousands

    The late rapper’s ‘Celebration of Life’ is taking place at the Staples Center today, and TMZ is live streaming what’s expected...

    Katie RosbottomApril 11, 2019
  • Charles Van Doren Dead at 93

    Charles Van Doren, one of the most infamous TV game show contestants of all time, has passed away.   Advertisement According...

    Katie RosbottomApril 10, 2019
  • Kim Kardashian Taking Bar Exam in 2022

    The reality star has plans to follow in her father Robert Kardashian’s footsteps by becoming an attorney, and she’s aiming to...

    Katie RosbottomApril 10, 2019
×