Yesterday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a hastily built movie theater was constructed to host the country’s first audience for a movie in over three decades. The invite-only event was a screening of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” which is well on its way to being the best-selling movie of all time.
The film that showcases diversity is a grand way is a perfect reflection of how diversity is being embraced in a grand way in a country that isn’t known for it. Thanks to the open-minded and young Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), movies are once again allowed for his citizens to enjoy.
“Black Panther” will be the first of hopefully many movies that will eventually play in movie theaters that will be built in the country in the coming years. The result is that of a hope of Prince Mohammed to bring continued economic prosperity to the country in more ways than its number one currently monetized export – oil.
For now, a new generation of audiences are excited to see movies in the Middle Eastern country. “I like modern movies, action movies,” said Fouz al-Thiyabi, 35, the vice principal of a girls’ elementary school in a story with The New York Times. According to the story, she knew little about “Black Panther,” but said she would have come no matter what the movie had been.”
If you’re Disney CEO Bob Iger (who met with MBS during his world tour stop in Los Angeles – watch video below), then you’re hoping that more Disney movies will be the ones that al-Thiyabi and more will see in their local theater.