>> A dramatic opening for Saudi Arabia's first new cinema. Fitting, then, that the first movie to be showed in the kingdom since 1983 was none other than Marvel's record breaking, and to boot, smashing, Black Panther. It's a historic moment for the nation says, Saudi Princess Reema bint Bandar.
>> To some it may be a change, for us, it's an evolution. I came today with me son. He's 16, and he is watching this movie, The Black Panther, a Hollywood blockbuster in>> This invitation only event was restricted to government officials and foreign dignitaries. With movie theaters opening to the public from Friday.
It ends a 35 year ban on cinemas, which some conservatives view as inconsistent with Islam. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is trying to steer the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom into the modern age. Opening a lucrative entertainment industry as the country weens itself off of oil. 2 and a half thousand cinema screens are planned by 2030, which authorities hope will attract nearly $1 billion in annual cinema tickets.
The 32 year old prince has already eased cultural restrictions in the last 2 years, allowing the women the right to drive and attend what had been male only events. There's been little apparent resistance to the social reforms, though space for criticism is limited.
While the smash hit super hero movie showed some ease in conservatism, some censorship can still be expected. Two kissing scenes have appeared to be cut from the screening.