Come 18 April, Marvel's Black Panther will be ending the longstanding ban on cinema in Saudi Arabia with a gala screening in Riyadh at a cinema located in the King Abdullah Financial District.
“We think it’s going to be the prettiest movie theatre in the world,” Chief Executive Adam Aron of US theatre chain AMC said of the agreement made in Saudi. “It’s a dramatic building.”
First intended to be a symphony concert hall, Aron explained that the main theatre will feature about 500 leather seats, orchestra and balcony levels and marble bathrooms, with three more screens added by mid-summer.
Animated films such as The Emoji Movie were screened in the country earlier this year, post the announcement that came in December 2017 that the ban was being lifted. Black Panther, however, will be hosted in permanent, public theatres rather than cultural centres.
Since its release in February, Black Panther has amassed more than $1 billion worldwide. The ﬁrst black superhero movie, it has been touted as "incredible, kinetic, purposeful. A movie about why representation and identity matters." Its inital release blazed a trail, marking a pivotal cultural moment. This announcement means it will now be instrumental in another.