Roll Camera Action: The revival of Saudi Arabian cinema

Analysis	International	News
   Saudi Arabia Great Reformation or Public Relations Ploy?  
  			Elizabeth Wells   

Analysis International News Saudi Arabia Great Reformation or Public Relations Ploy? Elizabeth Wells   

This is kind of a big deal because movie theaters have been shut down in the country since the early 1980s.

Saudi Arabia is screening the Hollywood blockbuster "Black Panther" in the first movie theater to open in the country.

However, on the bright side recently Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that abaya is not mandatory in Islam. AMC is owned by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which focuses on multinational ventures in the entertainment industry.

A Saudi man looks at a vehicle during a test screening of Black Panther in Riyadh on April 18, 2018.

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The gala screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther was attended by hundreds of invited guests in the sleek and chic complex - described by AMC cinema chain bosses as "the most lovely movie theater in the world". However, the release of "Black Panther" will be more traditional in the sense that citizens will visit an AMC Theatre to view it.

Many Saudis have rejoiced at the end of the cinema ban, sharing praise and pictures of Prince Mohammed on social media.

"This is a landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society", Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad said in statement ahead of the screening.

Mr. Dawood added: "The entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia holds incredible promise and we are firmly committed to seeing the exciting world of worldwide, regional and Saudi filmmaking featured in cinemas in every major city in the Kingdom, as set out in Vision 2030".

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The Vision project seeks to revive cinema as a way to give citizens the ability to experience entertainment in ways that have been banned for longer than most of the country's citizens have been alive. AMC and the Development & Investment Entertainment Co, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's investment fund, plan to open as many as 40 cinemas within five years.

Although the release of "Black Panther" is a small step in an ongoing battle and there is still much progress to be made, the possibility of seeing T'Challa charge onto the screens of Saudi Arabian AMC Theaters indicates that the film's effects are not only national but also global.

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