The Latest: First Saudi Arabian movie theater screens film

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The Latest on Saudi Arabia screening film in first movie theater to open in the country (all times local):

9 p.m.

Saudi Arabia is screening the Hollywood blockbuster "Black Panther" in the first movie theater to open in the country.

Authorities welcomed guests at an invitation-only screening Wednesday evening of the movie in a concert hall that's been converted into a cinema complex in the capital, Riyadh.

Authorities say the theater in Riyadh will be open on Friday to the public to watch the flick and tuck into a bucket of popcorn. Tickets go on sale Thursday.

Over the past several years, Saudi Arabia has gradually loosened restrictions on movie screenings, with local film festivals and screenings in makeshift theaters. In the 1970s, there were informal movie screenings, but the experience could be interrupted by the country's religious police.

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12:15 p.m.

Saudi Arabia will hold a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster "Black Panther" to herald the launch of movie theaters that are set to open to the public next month.

Authorities are planning an invitation-only screening of the movie in a concert hall that's been converted into a cinema complex in the capital, Riyadh.

Wednesday's screening will be followed by a rush to build movie theaters in major cities.

Over the past several years, Saudi Arabia has gradually loosened restrictions on movie screenings, with local film festivals and screenings in makeshift theaters. In the 1970s, there were informal movie screenings, but the experience could be interrupted by the country's religious police.

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