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Saudi Arabia Launches First New Cinema, Public Showings Start Friday
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19 Apr 2018 02:28 AM EST

Saudi Arabia launched its first commercial movie theater on Wednesday. This puts an end to the nearly 40 year ban on cinemas under a push by the crown prince. A red carpet invitation-only gala event attracted senior government officials, foreign dignitaries and industry figures to watch the Marvel movie “Black Panther.” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is hoping to open the deeply conservative country culturally, and to diversify the economy. The prince has eased restrictions in the last two years including on public concerts, women driving and gender mixing. Tickets will go on sale Thursday for the first public viewings on Friday.

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