Saudi Arabia to reopen cinemas after 35-year ban

Movie theaters will reopen in Saudi Arabia next year, the country’s Ministry of Culture and Information said Monday. The move is the latest part of a broader reform effort by the ultraconservative country.

“This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the kingdom,” Information Minister Awwad Alawwad said.

The government had earlier lifted a 35-year-old ban on cinemas that was passed during a particularly conservative era in Saudi history. Saudi Arabia’s top cleric in January had said the “depravity” of films corrupted the country’s morals.