Saudi Arabia announced it's lifting the 35-year-ban on public cinemas and social media users are revelling in it
Fasting and Furious, Return of the Jeddah, When Hariri Met Salafi ... these are just some of the film titles that Twitter users have suggested audiences might be enjoying following news that Saudi Arabia will lift the decades-long ban on public cinemas.
"Commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years," the Ministry of Culture and Information announced on Monday.
Following the news, social media users took to Twitter using the hashtag #SaudiMovieTitles in mockery of the kingdom’s restrictions on public entertainment and religious censorship.
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) December 11, 2017
50 Sheikhs of Grey. #SaudiMovieTitles
— CovfefeTalk (@CovfefeTalk1) December 11, 2017
Users took this opportunity to poke fun at the news by retitling western classics
Fantastic Hadiths And Where To Find Them#SaudiMovieTitles
— Rabi (@RabiFireWolf) December 11, 2017
- The Passion of the Issa
- Pulp Fitnah
- Dark Knight Ribba
- Bolice Academy
- Pirates of the Quarban
- The nikkah-book
- When Halal met Salafi#SaudiMovieTitles
— Mo Spurs (@mode992) December 13, 2017
The kingdom’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has pushed for a number of liberal reforms, vowing at the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh in October to return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam.”
Charlie and the Kabsa factory#SaudiMovieTitles
— Mohammed Al-Aghbari (@MohammedAghbari) December 13, 2017
Get ready to laugh. The best #saudimovietitles compilation:
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ritz-Carlton
- I Know What You Ate Last Ramadan
- Bid’ah Boys, Bid’ah Boys, What You Gonna Do
- Fasting and Furious
- Mission Imbossible
- The Wahhabi of Oz
— Mohamed Taha (@Mo_Taha1) December 13, 2017
The announcement came after Saudi Arabia's decision to lift a longstanding ban on women drivers. It was previously the only country in which women were forbidden from driving.
Only one public cinema currently exists in the kingdom, at a science and technology centre showing related exhibits. Presently there are no Western-style screens.
The first cinemas are expected in March 2018, and will be the first new such venues since the 1970s.
Bin Salman has been at the forefront of a recent sweeping purge in the kingdom, which has seen clerics, princes and businessmen arrested and tortured, in what he claims is a crackdown on corruption.
Saudi Arabia's apparent shift on social and religious issues comes as it continues to accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and siding with Iran, Riyadh's greatest regional rival.
Saudi Arabia has also been accused of supporting and funding terrorism and is currently facing legal action in the US over its alleged role in the September 11 attacks.