Marvel’s Black Panther will help usher in a new era for Saudi Arabia, breaking the nation’s 35-year cinema ban. Though a Marvel movie doing well in the theaters is hardly a surprise, few could have predicted that Black Panther would be such a runaway success. The movie scored a massive opening and quickly climbed past not just the rest of the MCU, but every other superhero film at the domestic box office. And with Marvel looking for a fresh crop of heroes once Phase 3 ends, it’s clear that T’Challa and his pantheon will play a large role moving forward.
While Black Panther has resonated with American audiences in a major way, proving to be more a cultural event than simply popcorn entertainment, the film has been matching that success in the international market. From its strong opening to its performance at home and abroad, to its continued growth, Black Panther has broken a lot of records. Now, it’s about to add another milestone.
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BBC News is reporting that Black Panther will help to officially end Saudi Arabia’s 35-year movie theater ban. On April 18, the Marvel movie will screen at a brand-new AMC theater in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 600-seat theater also won’t be gender-segregated, and is part of a new move to modernize the nation.
The Saudi Arabian government banned cinemas in 1982 due to their ultra-conservative religious beliefs, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ended the practice in December of last year. In fact, Black Panther won’t technically be the first movie screened, as The Emoji Movie was shown in Saudi Arabia on a double-bill with Captain Underpants: The First Movie earlier this year. That, however, was in a make-shift theater for some key figures. Black Panther, meanwhile, will be open to the public.
It’s not known how much the opening in Saudi Arabia will add to Black Panther‘s gross at this time, though the event is likely to be a major one. Over time, the country could become a strong international player when it comes to box office scores. For now, however, the boost should help the Marvel movie continue to climb. Black Panther beat Frozen to crack the top ten highest earners worldwide thanks to its $1,280.9 billion haul so far. With the Saudi Arabian debut, the film could push past Star Wars: The Last Jedi at $1,332.6B.
Black Panther is also still going strong at home even as more competition piles up and Avengers: Infinity War looms on the horizon. Black Panther currently sits at $654.2 million domestically, making it the fourth highest film of all time in North America. And soon enough, it will pass Titanic for the third spot. What the Saudi Arabian premiere will do for the film overall is unclear, but it marks yet another feat for Black Panther regardless.
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Source: BBC News