Saudi Arabia Celebrates Cinema Grand Opening With 'Black Panther'

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In addition, "Black Panther" has joined the ranks of the greatest financial successes of Hollywood, even beating James Cameron's "Titanic" to take the third spot for largest opening ever in the United States.

Authorities welcomed guests at an invitation-only screening Wednesday evening of the movie in a concert hall that's been converted into a cinema complex in the capital, Riyadh.

It was a night to remember: Cinema returned to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with the first major movie screening in 35 years in a spectacular new theater in King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh.

AMC is expected to open 40 cinemas in 15 Saudi cities over the next five years and as many as 50 to 100 cinemas in 25 cities across the Kingdom by 2030, the Ministry of Culture and Information said.

The test screening will consist of a series of trial runs before the movie will be available to the wider public in May.

The opening marks another milestone for reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open the country culturally and diversify the economy.

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The crown prince, 32, has already eased many restrictions in the last two years, including on public concerts, women driving and gender mixing. Increasing the freedom of cinema within the country and allowing more Western cinema into Saudi Arabian theaters is a visible change in the everyday lives of the Saudi Arabian people. The kingdom says there will be 300 cinemas with around 2,000 screens built by 2030. "Saudis see movies right now, they love movies, but they watch them at home, they stream them, or they travel outside the kingdom to see movies".

Saudi writer and dissident Jamal Khashoggi describes the theatres of the 1970s as being "like American drive-ins, except much more informal". In the 1970s, there were informal movie screenings, but the experience could be interrupted by the country's religious police.

Access to streaming services, such as Netflix, and satellite TV steadily eroded attempts by the government to censor what the Saudi public could view.

"Saudi policies are failing both domestically and overseas, especially in Lebanon", the Jordanian envoy said, informing his government after meeting his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi, according to a document released on September 28, 2017.

The Oregon organization got involved after being contacted through LinkedIn.

Saudi Arabia has, for the first time, also claimed a spot among "Top Ten Countries in Nanotechnology Patents in 2017", according to a StatNano report last month.