Saudi Arabia to show 'Black Panther' to mark cinema opening

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The launch, held by the Chinese-owned AMC Entertainment, featured the screening of the latest Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther. Theatres now under design include Majid Al Futtaim's Mall of Saudi and City Centre Ishbiliyah to open in the "coming years" in Riyadh and the cinema developments will create about 3,000 jobs.

With the dashing return of cinema to Saudi Arabia, AMC Cinemas has announced a partnership with Noon.com to sell tickets online for initial screenings of "Black Panther", the Marvel Studios production of the immensely popular comic book that marks the return theaters to the Kingdom on April 20.

VOX said in a statement it was investing SR2 billion ($533 million) in Saudi Arabia to open 600 screens in the next five years, starting at Riyadh Park Mall which will host the Kingdom's first IMAX screen.

U.S. giant AMC has been granted the first licence to operate movie theatres.

The very first movie that is being shown is Black Panther.

According to AMC chief executive Adam Aron, ticket sales will commence on Thursday for the first public shows on Friday.

Saudi Arabia said past year that movies "will be subject to censorship according to media policy standards of the Kingdom", to ensure they comply with Saudi values and principles and do not contradict Sharia, or Islamic, law.

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The move to reopen cinemas is part of a modernisation drive by reformist Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is seeking to balance unpopular subsidy cuts in an era of low oil prices with more entertainment options - despite opposition from hardliners.

The VOX Cinemas' Riyadh Park experience will include four screens located within the most significant Magic Planet Family Entertainment Centre in the region.

He said plans were afoot for three more screens in the coming months.

Men and women will generally be allowed to sit together in theaters, The Associated Press reports, though some screenings will be reserved for a male-only crowd. The Saudi government projects that the opening of movie theaters will contribute more than 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) to the economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030. It was earlier said by the Officials that movie theaters are expected to open to the public in May.

Saudi Arabia had already started gradually loosening restrictions on movie screenings in the past few years, with local film festivals and screenings in makeshift theaters. For the most part, though, Saudis who wanted to watch a film in a movie theater would have to drive to nearby Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates for weekend trips to the cinema.

Films screened in Saudi theaters will still be subject to approval by government authorities, as is done in other Muslim countries.

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