'Black Panther' to be first movie officially screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 years

'Black Panther' to be first movie officially screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 years
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“Black Panther” will become the first movie to be officially screened in Saudi Arabia after the country lifted its ban on cinemas earlier this year.

AMC will show the movie at a gala opening for its new movie theater Wednesday in the capital of Riyadh, CNN reported.

The initial screening will be limited to special guests, government officials and executives, but the movie be available to the general public on May 1.

Men and women will also be allowed to sit together at the initial screening and during showings for the general public, according to CNN.


Unofficial screenings of movies like “The Emoji Movie” and “Captain Underpants” were hosted in the country to mark the ban’s removal earlier this year.

AMC was the first company granted an operating license from the Saudi government.

"We're going to show typical Hollywood blockbusters that are very popular in the United States and Europe and elsewhere in the world," AMC CEO Adam Aron said to CNN. "Hollywood has been showing movies in the Middle East for a long time [and] has proven that it can be sensitive to the local cultures here and in the region."

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture predicts that the country will have 350 cinemas by 2030, according to CNN.

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.

The government announced last year that women would be allowed to drive and to attend events in sports stadiums.

However, women in Saudi Arabia still have limited rights. They must follow strict dress codes, get permission from a male guardian to travel and cannot interact with men they aren't related to.