Saudis Lift 35-Year Cinema Ban
Clerics stamped movies out decades ago
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2017 12:11 AM CST
Visitors enter the Saudi Comic Con (SCC), the first event of its kind, to be held in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – Saudis are going to be allowed to go to the movies for the first time since ET, Annie, and Blade Runner were in the cinemas. Saudi Arabian authorities have announced that as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform program, movie theaters, which have been banned for at least 35 years because of pressure from conservative clerics, will be allowed to open in early 2018, the BBC reports. "This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy," Culture Minister Awwad Al-Awwad said in a statement, per the Financial Times. "Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification." The government says it expects 300 cinemas to open by 2030. (Other recently introduced reforms include allowing women to drive.)

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