Sunday, 27 May, 2018

S Arabia to open first cinema in 35 years

Saudi cinema launch ends decades-old ban Saudi Arabia opens 1st movie theater in 35 years
Lillian Steele | 19 April, 2018, 01:52

'We hope over the next five years to be opening some 40 movie theaters in different cities, which should total 100 theaters, target planned for 2030, explained Alawwad.

Now it's the turn of "Black Panther".

A red carpet invitation-only gala event on Wednesday attracted senior government officials, foreign dignitaries and select industry figures to watch Marvel's superhero movie Black Panther on a 13-metre screen at a converted symphony concert hall in Riyadh.

Despite limited access, the screenings mark another milestone under social and economic reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The comments were in response to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday that US President Donald Trump's administration was seeking to assemble an Arab force, including troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to replace a US military contingent in Syria.

Saudi Arabia is launching its first commercial movie theater on Wednesday as it ends a almost 40-year ban on cinemas under a push by the crown prince to open up the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

A Saudi man looks at a vehicle during a test screening of Black Panther in Riyadh on April 18, 2018.

By the 1980s, movie screenings were largely banned unless they took place in private residential compounds for foreigners or at cultural centres run by foreign embassies.

This evolution of the cinematic viewing experience in Saudi Arabia comes after decades of strict viewing laws.

The smell of buttery popcorn filled the air as confetti rained down through the multi-storey atrium where Aron and Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad al-Awwad announced the launch and proceeded into the 450-seat hall.

The lifting of the ban on cinemas was the country's latest move to relax regulations as part of a plan to revitalize Saudi Arabia's economy by 2030.

Although the release of "Black Panther" is a small step in an ongoing battle and there is still much progress to be made, the possibility of seeing T'Challa charge onto the screens of Saudi Arabian AMC Theaters indicates that the film's effects are not only national but also global.

The opening was overseen by the Development and Investment Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and a partner with AMC in the new cinema complex. The Crown Prince is taking steps to improve the lives of the younger generation in his country, which makes up about 70 percent of the population, and the Vision project is a way to connect the younger generation in Saudi Arabia with young people across the world through shared media.

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