Black Panther screening to end Saudi ban

Soft start as kingdom ends 35-year prohibition

by Amber Wilkinson

Black Panther screening will end Saudi cinema ban after 35 years
Black Panther screening will end Saudi cinema ban after 35 years

A private movie screening of Black Panther will mark the end of a 35-year ban on cinema in Saudi Arabia tonight.

The invitation-only screening - which will be held in a newly built complex in Riyadh - will be attended by both men and women.

It was described as a "landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society" by the minister for culture.

The ending of the movie ban - which will be followed by a wave of cinemas opening their doors to the public next month - is one of a number of social reforms driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is generally referred to as MBS. His aim, with the backing of his father King Salman, is to combat the falling oil price by creating new jobs and boosting the local economy as part of what he has termed Vision 2030.

Before the cinema ban in the Eighties, cinemas had been extremely popular in the country. After the ultraconservative restrictions, people were forced to create home cinemas or travel to Kuwait or Dubai to watch mainstream movies - spending an estimated five per cent of Saudi GDP. Now US cinema giant AMC have entered into a partnership with the Saudi Development and Investment Entertainment Company to open 40 cinemas in the next five years. Films shown will still be subject to government censorship.

The Kingdom expects that by 2030, there will be 300 cinemas, worth almost £17 billion to the economy.

Share this with others on...
News

Unnatural colours Jenn Wexler on punk movies, Chloe Levine and making The Ranger

Frightfest: five films to look forward to What to watch out for at this year's festival

Deepening the mystery Mathieu Amalric and Jeanne Balibar on Barbara and Balibar's Merveilles À Montfermeil

Filming sensations Mathieu Amalric on Pierre Léon, Jeanne Balibar and the sounds and colours of Barbara

They Shall Not Grow Old to premiere at LFF Peter Jackson's World War One doc gets gala screening.

I Am Not A Witch selected for Oscar submission Rungano Nyoni's drama is UK nomination for Best Foreign Language film

More news and features

We're looking forward to Frightfest in London later this month, plus the Glasgow Youth Film Festival and New York Film Festival.



We've recently been at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.



Read our full for recent coverage.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

More competitions coming soon.