‘It’s a New Era’: Popcorn and ‘Black Panther’ To End 35-Year Saudi Arabia Cinema Ban


 Saudi Arabia has announced the end of a 35-year ban on movie theaters and “” screening will mark the new historical milestone. 

Stay with Nexter.org to know more.

One more big step

Saudi Arabia unveiled its very first cinema in over 35 years with a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster on Wednesday.

The gala opening was limited to about 500 invited guests, executives and officials, but public screenings of the movie will begin on May 1.

“It’s a new era, a new age. It’s that simple. Things are changing, progress is happening. We’re opening up and we’re catching up with everything that’s happening in the world,” said Rahaf Alhendi, who attended the showing.

Authorities said the public would be able to purchase tickets online but there may be delays.

AMC said men and women would be able to sit together at the gala screening. The Saudi official said there would also be no segregation when theaters open to the public – moviegoers would be able to choose between mixed, male-only and female-only screenings.


Source: getty images

However, do not expect to see “Fifty Shades of Freed” soon in Arabia theaters as movies screened will be subject to approval by government censors. “” was no exception – despite scenes of violence were not cut, a final scene involving a kiss was axed.

“This is a historic day for your country,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, told the crowd at the screening. “It’s been about 37 years since you’ve been able to watch movies the way movies are meant to be watched in a theater, together on a big screen.”

Aron said the company plans to rip out the current concert-style seats and replace them with plush leather recliners and build three more screens in the complex to accommodate up to 5,000 movie-goers a day.

The Saudi government projects that the opening of movie theaters will contribute more than 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) to the economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030. The kingdom says there will be 300 cinemas with around 2,000 screens built by 2030.


Source: Fayez Nureldine / AFP Photo

Previous achievements

The cinema shift became one more change in a chain of new regulations.

Nexter.org had previously reported, that Saudi announced a plan to lift the ban on women driving by June 2018 and such services like Uber and Careem started to recruit female drivers.

Careem driving service launched a series of 90-minute training sessions, in the Saudi cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, targeting Saudi women who have already acquired valid driving licenses while abroad. As a result, thousands of Saudi women showed interest in becoming drivers.

Also, the authorities of Saudi Arabia had given women the right to join the army, but the applicant is to meet 12 requirements.

Despite the first steps to give women more rights, Saudi still follows many restrictions for women.

Here are some of them:

  • Women need permission from a male guardian in order to marry or divorce a man.
  • Women are segregated from men in many areas of public life, including restaurants, workplaces, and other public venues.
  • They generally must obtain permission from their male guardian before receiving an elective surgery, but those requirements vary between hospitals.
  • It’s not allowed for women to work for certain employers or open certain businesses.
  • They can’t wear what they please in public.
  • Women are permitted to testify in court, but their testimony is worth only half of a man’s and is equivalent to that of a minor.
  • Women can face tremendous difficulties gaining custody of their children after a divorce, if her sons are older than seven or her daughters are older than nine.


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'It's a New Era': Popcorn and 'Black Panther' To End 35-Year Saudi Arabia Cinema Ban
'It's a New Era': Popcorn and 'Black Panther' To End 35-Year Saudi Arabia Cinema Ban
 Saudi Arabia has announced the end of a 35-year ban on movie theaters and "Black Panther" screening will mark the new historical milestone. 

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