Saudi Arabia Launches First New Cinema

Saudi Arabia unveiled its first cinema in over 35 years with a private screening of the blockbuster "black panther", the first in a series of trial runs before movie theatres open to the wider public.

The invitation-only gala event comes after the kingdom lifted the ban on cinemas last year.

The kingdom shuttered cinemas in the early 1980s.

In 2017, the government said it would lift the ban in part to retain money that Saudis currently spend on entertainment during trips to Dubai, Bahrain and elsewhere.

To serve a population of more than 32 million, most of whom are under the age of 30, the authorities plan to set up around 350 cinemas with over 2,500 screens by 2030, which they hope will attract nearly $1 billion in annual ticket sales.