‘Black Panther’ Breaks Saudi Arabia’s 35-Year Cinema Ban


Matthew Campbell

The recent Marvel blockbuster hit, ‘Black Panther,’ tells the story of the fictitious African country of Wakanda and its king, portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman. Holding the title of being the highest rated superhero movie ever, ‘Black Panther’ has already grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide.


In the 1980s, the country of Saudi Arabia placed a ban on all movie theaters throughout the country. On April 18, ‘Black Panther’ is set to be released at the country’s first movie theater since the ban was established.


“It has honestly has been one of my favorite movies I’ve seen this year and Wakanda forever,” Junior Grace Rugger said.


The lift of the ban on movie theaters was not unexpected due to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent efforts at modernizing and changing Saudi society. Recently, in Saudi Arabia, the ban on women driving was lifted, standards about what to wear are more relaxed and citizens are now allowed to visit sports events.


“I think that it’s awesome that Black Panther is being shown in Saudi Arabia for the first time cause that movie was so good,” Junior Katie Wilson said.


“Black Panther” is set to premiere in a brand new AMC-branded movie theater in the city of Riyadh. The luxurious cinema was originally intended to be a symphony concert hall and reportedly is home more than 600 leather seats. AMC Entertainment is planning to open 40 new cinemas in Saudi Arabia in the next five years and plans up to open 100 more theaters by 2030.


“They honestly should build one of those movie theaters here in Bentonville cause it sounds really nice,” Junior Hashane Abey said.


Variety reported that Saudi Arabia and its population of 32 million could eventually produce $1 billion in revenues for the film industry due to the removal of the ban. Saudi Arabia could potentially influence the film industry and specifically the international success of Marvel’s “Black Panther”.