Black Panther to Open in Saudi Arabia, Ending 35-Year Theater Ban

The tale of King T'Challa's battle to keep his throne and stop his country from falling into the wrong hands will be show in the capital of Riyadh at the country's first cinema, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It will be the first film to be screened to the public in a movie theater in the country since it lifted a 35-year cinema ban.

The Luxurious cinema house, which boasts 600 leather seats and marble bathrooms, is a showpiece of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's drive to reinvent and reform the ultra-conservative Muslim country.

Variety reports that Disney on Tuesday, said the movie also passed "Frozen", which is also from Disney studios, to make the 10th spot on the worldwide box office list with $1.28 billion.

Disney, AMC and Italia Film did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

Marvel's "Black Panther" will become the first movie to be publicly screened in Saudia Arabia following an end to the country's 35-year ban on cinema.

The company hopes to eventually have 100 theaters open in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's highest cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, was quoted calling singing concerts and cinemas a "depravity", and speaking against the infiltration of western culture in a statement, warning that opening cinemas would represent a "call for mixing between sexes".

Given its worldwide financial success and multi-cultural themes, Black Panther makes the ideal representative to help usher in the theatrical experience in the country.

"Black Panther", directed by Ryan Coogler, carries an estimated $200 million production cost and grossed $427 million on its first four-days, shattering box-office records, and has continued to break new records.

The new movie theater initiative is but one example of the Crown Prince's efforts to liberalize the country's strict codes of conduct and diversify its economy, which is nearly entirely dependent on oil.

The kingdom announced it would open movie theaters last December.


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