We can add another achievement to Black Panther‘s already long list of accomplishments, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe film will help lift a 35-year ban on theatrical screenings in Saudi Arabia in the near future.
In 1979, the nation began to observe incredibly conservative regulations as part of its growing push towards religious values. In the early 1980s, the closure of movie theaters was the result of this conservative movement. Last December, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the lifting of the ban in hopes of transforming the values of the country.
An AMC-branded theater in Riyadh would kick off the movie resurgence with a gala premiere of Black Panther. The building was originally an orchestra hall, featuring more than 600 luxurious seats, marble bathrooms, and multiple levels of seating.
With nearly 23 million citizens under the age of 30, some analysts are predicting the country can become a huge foreign market, possibly leading to $1 billion in annual revenue, putting it in the top 10 theatrical foreign markets. AMC Entertainment hopes to open up 40 theaters within the year and a total of 100 theaters in the next five years.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the film had earned $1.279 billion at the worldwide box office, with $652.5 million of that total coming in North America.