If you’re anything like me, you forgot that The Emoji Movie was even released. It came out to tepid reviews this past summer, and it made a moderate sum of money in the United States. The movie is back in headlines for a very peculiar reason.
There was a ban on commercial theaters in Saudi Arabia, and the country just lifted the 35-year ruling. What did they decide to show as their first screening? A double-feature of The Emoji Movie and Captain Underpants.
In Saudi Arabia, the country has ultra-conservative entertainment restrictions. It is hard for concerts and movies to be seen in the country. Although the internet and satellite TV have changed that a tiny bit.
From The Verge:
The Emoji Movie screening was part of a week-long series of screenings, and took place at a state-run cultural center because no permanent theaters have opened yet. “We tried to use these films to be a starting point as the first cinematic screening,” event organizer Mamdouh Salim told Reuters. According to the report, the Saudi government expects to open 300 theaters by 2030.
While the exercise will confuse many in the United States, movies without a lot of controversial topics would be a stable place to start. For someone who sat through the film on opening day, it couldn’t be less contentious if it tried. It will be interesting what movies they go from here and what is considered controversial.
Movies are always a fantastic experience; it is good to see that other parts of the world are joining in on the fun.