Saudi Arabia Lifts A 35-Year-Old Ban On Cinemas; Theaters Re-Opening in 2018

      Image result for saudi arabia cinema wsjWe know that 200+ high ranking Saudis have been detained and $50 billion in assets seized. Some kind of societal overhaul is happening over there.  I wonder what is the cause? There has always been a running division amongst Saudi royalty. The powerful are Western educated and their religious beliefs are, err, moderate to say the least.  The royals being arrested seem to be those using religion to gain more power. This has been a major crutch for the moderates. To avoid this, they have focused on bringing about attitude changes first - hence the enormous women's university and similar projects. It seems like it might be working. Either this will blossom into a full-blown westernized country or we wukk see a religious uprising and it'll all go to hell. Good luck to anyone living there.

Deadline has this:
"Saudi Arabia has officially declared that public movie theaters will return to the kingdom for the first time in more than 30 years. The move had been expected. Deadline reported last month that an initiative was afoot to build and open cinemas after being a focus of the Future Investment Initiative conference held in Riyadh in October."
"Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad said today, “Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification; by developing the broader cultural sector we will create new employment and training opportunities, as well as enriching the Kingdom’s entertainment options.” The first moviehouses are likely to open in March, per local reports."
Saudi’s earlier cinemas were shuttered in 1982 after clerics persuaded the government to do so. While censorship could be an issue, the General Entertainment Authority has previously said there is a desire to create entertainment that “will be like 99% of what is going on in London and New York.”
"Overall, the Middle East has seen significant increases in box office in the past few years and Saudi’s population is 65%-70% under 30-years-old. A Comic-Con event in Jeddah this February attracted more than 10,000 people."
"Today’s announcement follows some years of forward momentum within the local filmmaking community. In 2013, Haifaa al Mansour became the first woman to direct a film inside the kingdom. That movie, Wadjda, went on to be the first-ever submission from Saudi for the Foreign Language Oscar. In 2016, Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah was also entered as the Saudi candidate after a successful showing at the Berlin Film Festival."