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'Black Panther'

'Black Panther' to break Saudi Arabia's 35-year cinema ban


"Black Panther" isn't only breaking sales records. It's breaking religious barriers, too.

For the first time in 35 years, Saudi Arabia is opening up movie theaters, premiering with Marvel Studios' biggest film ever.

Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman in his role as T'Challa (AKA: the Black Panther) from the Marvel superhero movie "Black Panther." (Disney / Marvel via MGN)

On April 18th, men and women will be allowed to sit together at an invitation-only screening of the movie. According to ABC News, the main theater will have 620 leather seats, an orchestra, balcony levels and marble bathrooms.

'Black Panther'
This image released by Disney shows Chadwick Boseman in a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." “Black Panther” is king of the U.S. box office for the third straight weekend. Studio estimates Sunday, March 4, 2018, say the Marvel movie brought in $65 million in the U.S. this weekend, easily outpacing new releases “Red Sparrow” and “Death Wish.” (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)

It's all apart of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to modernize the conservative country. The 32-year-old prince has also been campaigning to modernize the national economy.

Along with opening up theaters in 40 Saudi cities over the next five years, women will be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia for the first time in ever.

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority publicly called commercial films a source of “depravity” and opposed the opening of movie theaters as recently as last year.

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The country banned commercial cinema in the 80s when it adopted hard-line religious code. The move comes as "Black Panther" has become the third highest grossing movie in U.S. history, moving past Titanic, and only trailing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Avatar."

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