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Saudi Arabia just lifted its cinema ban, and well, the first movie screened was an interesting choice

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Saudi Arabia has just lifted a 35-year-old ban on cinemas, and picked an, uh, interesting movie for the first screening.

Ready? The Emoji Movie. Yep.

The very first film hitting cinema screens in three and a half decades was 2017’s animated feature about a city populated by talking emojis. It’s currently sitting at 9 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — although, granted, it has a 39 percent audience score. And it’s targeted at children.

But hey, let’s celebrate the fact that it was shown at all.

The conservative kingdom’s Ministry of Culture and Information agreed to issue licenses for cinemas on Dec. 11, 2017. According to Reuters, the country’s first permanent theatres could open as early as March 2018, and the authorities are sponsoring temporary cinemas for now — one, in Jeddah’s cultural hall, apparently has a popcorn machine. Films will be censored to adhere to the “moral values” of the kingdom — exactly what these censored films look like remains to be seen. Read more…

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