It's a stark reversal for a county where public movie screenings were banned in the 1980s during a wave of ultraconservatism that swept Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi clerics view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and Lebanon as sinful.
Despite decades of ultraconservative dogma, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought to ram through a number of major social reforms with support from his father, King Salman.
The crown prince is behind measures such as lifting a ban on women driving that will go into effect this year, and bringing back concerts and other forms of entertainment to satiate the desires of the country's majority young population.
The social push by the 32-year-old heir to the throne is part of his so-called Vision 2030, a blueprint for the country that aims to boost local spending and create jobs amid sustained lower oil prices.
The Saudi government projects that the opening of movie theatres will contribute more than 90 billion riyals ($30.8 billion) to the economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030. The kingdom says there will be 300 cinemas with around 2,000 screens built by 2030.
Over the past several years, Saudi Arabia has gradually been loosening restrictions on movie screenings, with local film festivals and screenings in makeshift theatres.
For the most part, though, Saudis who wanted to watch a film in a movie theatre would have to drive to nearby Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates for weekend trips to the cinema.
In the 1970s, there were informal movie screenings but the experience could be interrupted by the country's religious police, whose powers have since been curbed.
Saudi writer and dissident Jamal Khashoggi describes the theatres of the 1970s as being "like American drive-ins, except much more informal".
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, he wrote that to avoid being arrested at one of these screenings in Medina, a friend of his broke his leg jumping off a wall to escape the religious police.
By the 1980s, movie screenings were largely banned unless they took place in private residential compounds for foreigners or at cultural centres run by foreign embassies.
Access to streaming services, such as Netflix, and satellite TV steadily eroded attempts by the government to censor what the Saudi public could view. By 2013, the film Wadjda made history by becoming the first Academy Award entry for Saudi Arabia, though it wasn't nominated for the Oscars.
Movies screened in Saudi cinemas will be subject to approval by government censors, as is the case in other Arab countries. Scenes of violence are not cut, but scenes involving nudity, sex or even kissing often do get axed.
It's not clear whether Black Panther will undergo a similar censorship for Wednesday's screening, which will be attended by diplomats, industry insiders, the press and the chief executive of AMC Entertainment, Adam Aron. The US-based AMC was granted the first license to operate a cinema in Saudi Arabia in a deal signed earlier this month in California with the Crown Prince.
AMC is partnering with a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, to build up to 40 AMC cinemas across the country over the next five years.
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So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then
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The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.
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Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)
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The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.
"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.
"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.
Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."
Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."
She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.
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