'Black Panther' to Break Saudi Arabia's 35-Year Cinema Ban

Black Panther is set to make some more history.

Marvel's record-breaking superhero blockbuster — which has already amassed north of $1.2 billion since launching in February — will herald Saudi Arabia's long-awaited return to the cinema world, becoming the first film to screen to the public in a movie theater in the country since it lifted a 35-year cinema ban. The news makes Disney and its regional distribution partner in the Middle East, Italia Film, the first to officially release a movie in the kingdom as it undergoes dramatic reforms. 

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that film will be given a gala premiere on April 18 in Riyadh at the first AMC-branded cinema, which was announced Wednesday. The 620-seater theater — set to open less than four months after the ban lifting was announced in December — is a converted symphony hall in the King Abdullah Financial District, and is the first of hundreds of cinemas planned to open in the next decade. 

Black Panther is set to play for five days in Riyadh and will be swiftly followed by Avengers: Infinity War, which is being given a day-and-date release on April 26.