Saudi Arabia is looking to end its 35-year cinema ban, and the film chosen to break down that particular wall is, of course, Black Panther.
Could there be a better pick? (I am biased, so there’s that.)
According to Variety, Disney and its Middle East distribution partner Italia Film will be releasing the critically acclaimed film, which has dominated domestic and worldwide box offices, on April 18 in a new AMC theater in Riyadh, complete with a gala premiere.
The screening will mark the first time a film has been publicly shown in a theater since cinemas were banned in the early 1980s because of ultraconservative religious standards. The ban was removed in December as part of an initiative by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Working with AMC, some 40 cinemas are expected to be open across the kingdom within five years, with up to 100 theaters existing by 2030.
The new cinema where Black Panther will be screened will indeed be a luxurious one, constructed in a building that was meant to be a symphony concert hall, with more than 600 leather seats and marble bathrooms.