'Black Panther' to end cinema ban in Saudi Arabia

  • 'Black Panther' to end cinema ban in Saudi Arabia

'Black Panther' to end cinema ban in Saudi Arabia

The new theater is slated to open on April 18th in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and according to reports, the first movie slated to be shown is Disney's "The Black Panther".

According to Saudi state media, the kingdom's main sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, has signed a deal with AMC Entertainment Holdings to operate cinemas in Saudi Arabia.

US -based but Chinese-owned AMC Entertainment has officially scored the first cinema license in Saudi Arabia after the country lifted its ban on public movie theaters last December.

Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information on Wednesday said it has given USA -based firm - AMC -, the first licence to operate cinemas in the kingdom. So Black Panther get to claim the honor of being the first official movie screening in over 30 years, and frankly, is a much better movie to begin with. Other theater chains such as iPic Entertainment and Imax Corp. - which now operates the only (non-commercial) cinema screen in the kingdom, at the Sultan Abdulaziz Science and Technology Center in Khobar - are also looking to take advantage of the opening. The facility reportedly has more than 600 leather seats, on orchestra and balcony levels, and marble bathrooms.

"We expect this to be a very lucrative opportunity for AMC", said AMC's Chief Executive Adam Aron in a conference call with Fox Business. "It's a dramatic building".

Plans have also been announced to invest 64 billion USA dollars in the Saudi entertainment sector over the next 10 years, as well as allowing women to attend concerts and setting up 5,000 recreational events in 2018. The move to allow movie theaters to open up a local market with annual ticket sales of up to $1bn is what makes other leading movie chains keen to enter as the largest market in the Gulf region.

Saudi Arabia's first cinema in almost 35 years will open later this month, the governmental Center for International Communication (CIC) said on Wednesday. "Major Hollywood studios are showing films all over the Middle East right now". Terms were not disclosed.