Black Panther to get historic screening in Saudi Arabia

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"Black Panther" will be the first movie to screen in a Saudi Arabian movie theater in 35 years.

AMC's first cinema will be located in the King Abdullah Financial District in a building originally meant to be a symphony concert hall, AMC Chief Executive Adam Aron said in an interview.

Saudia Arabia's conservative clerics instituted the ban on cinema in the early 1980s. Analysts predict that Saudi Arabia could ultimately produce over $1bn a year in cinema revenue, making it one of the world's top 10 markets.

Saudi Arabia plans to open around "350 cinemas with over 2,500 screens by 2030", according to Reuters which could rake in almost $1 billion in annual ticket sales.

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The film is distributed by Middle Eastern distribution partner Italia Films in partnership with Disney.

AMC's first cinema will be located in the King Abdullah Financial District in a building originally meant to be a symphony concert hall, AMC Chief Executive Adam Aron said in an interview.

Black Panther will play for five days before giving way to Marvel's forthcoming movie Avengers: Infinity War, set to release everywhere on April 26. This will be the first in 35 years. As part of his Vision, 2030 scheme for the country, Crown Prince Salman has also launched efforts to transform culture through entertainment, by establishing an authority that hosts comedy and sports events. The venue is reportedly multi-leveled and decked out with marble bathrooms - certainly more luxe then most of the cinemas we attend.

The announcement that Riyadh will screen the superhero flick is another indicator that Saudi Arabia is changing - and it wants people to notice. Though the thought of comparing Wakanda to Saudi Arabia may be unpleasant to us, Saudis will see parallels.

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