A major motion picture hasn’t screened publically since the early 1980’s in Saudi Arabia, but come April 18 that will no longer be the case thanks to the universal appeal of “Black Panther” and a Saudi prince who has come along with the intention of bringing society in the mighty Mid Eastern kingdom into the 21st century.
Earlier this week Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made headlines when he booked the entire 285 room Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel so that he could attend a gathering that brought America’s wealthiest businessmen together with some of Hollywood’s biggest names. It is now clear that the progressive ruler did more than just schmooze with the likes of James Cameron and Ridley Scott.
On Thursday, April 5, it was announced that bin Salman is bringing an end to the 35-year Saudi ban on cinema in order to allow Disney to bring the epic Marvel blockbuster to his country in conjunction with distributor Italia Film. Reports confirm that the movie will premiere with a gala that is scheduled to take place in an AMC that has just been opened in the capital of Riyadh.
The new theater is expected to be the first of 40 that the kingdom plans to break ground on in the coming five years. And the flick, which has experienced meteoric success across the globe, will be the first viewed in a public Saudi setting since the nation hunkered down on non-Islamic culture by beginning to instituting ultraconservative standards following the overthrow of the House of Saud in 1979.