What better way for Saudi Arabia to end its 35-year-old ban on cinema than with Black Panther! The Marvel superhero blockbuster will help open the first movie theatre in Saudi Arabia on April 18, ending a 35-year-old ban on cinemas. Black Panther, which has already amassed $1.2 billion since opening in February, will herald Saudi Arabia’s long-awaited return to the cinema world.
The news makes Disney and its regional distribution partner in the Middle East, Italia Film, the first to officially release a movie in the country as it undergoes dramatic reforms. The film will be given a a gala premiere on April 18 in Riyadh at the first AMC-branded cinema, which was announced on Wednesday. The 620-seater theatre is set to open less than four months after the ban lifting was announced in December as a converted symphony hall in the King Abdullah Financial District, and is the first of hundreds of cinemas planned to open in the next decade.
Black Panther is set to play for five days in Riyadh and will be swiftly followed by Avengers: Infinity War, which will open on April 26.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.