After 35 years, Saudi Arabia is ending its ban on movie theaters with a screening of “Black Panther” at a new AMC in Riyadh. The single-screen cinema in the capital city’s financial district will show the Hollywood blockbuster at a gala opening for about 500 invited guests, but AMC says public screenings will soon follow.
AMC says men and women will be able to sit together at the gala screening and a Saudi official says there won’t be segregation when the theater opens to the public either. This is a change because Saudi men and women are customarily separated in public places, but this restriction is finally being relaxed.
Now moviegoers will be able to choose between mixed company, male-only and female-only movie screenings. Other screens are supposed to open at this AMC theater and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture expects 350 cinemas to open there by 2030.