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'Black Panther' Set To Break Saudi Arabia's 35-Year-Old Cinema Ban

'Black Panther' Set To Break Saudi Arabia's 35-Year-Old Cinema Ban

Photo via: Marvel Studios 

If you thought Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther" was done making history, think again. On April 18th, the record-breaking Marvel superhero movie will become the first film to open in Saudi Arabia in 35 years, marking the end of the country's movie theater ban. 

When Saudi Arabia adopted ultraconservative religious standards in 1979, a cinema ban was put in place in the early 1980's. As a part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's initiative to transform the country (where it was not legal for women to drive until 2017) the ban was lifted this past December. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, "The 620-seater theater — set to open less than four months after the ban lifting was announced in December — is 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." 

Within five years, AMC Entertainment hopes to open 40 cinemas in Saudi Arabia and 100 by the year of 2030. With the blockbuster phenomenon "Black Panther" being the first shown in a Saudi Arabian movie theater in 35 years, it looks like the country's new public theaters are already off to great start.