Out of the universe of movies available, Saudi Arabia singled out "The Emoji Movie", a cartoon which fully incarnates the spirit of the modern time, as its characters are emojis living inside a smartphone.
After watching "The Emoji Movie" with his wife and daughter, 28-year-old Sultan al-Otaibi shared his impressions and noted that people in Saudi Arabia are glad to go watch movies in a theater instead of sitting at home, as quoted by Reuters.
"It’s more comfortable, more fun to have a change of scenery and an activity on the weekend. It is a step that was very late in coming but thank God it’s happening now," he said.
The event got mixed reactions on social media as many people could not agree to Saudi Arabia's choice of the movie.
Imagine getting to see a movie for the first time, and it’s the steaming pile of excrement that is “The Emoji Movie.”— Amy Curtis (@RantyAmyCurtis) January 16, 2018
I think I would reinstate another 35 year movie ban.
This is a human rights abuse, of all movies you use the emoji movie wow— Meme Junkie ™ (@OnePoliticalBoi) January 16, 2018
>Be Saudi man— Suburbia (@SuburbKommando) January 16, 2018
>Last movie I saw in theaters was Return of the Jedi
>Cinema ban lifted
>Can't wait to watch a well crafted modern film with my family
>First showing is Emoji Movie pic.twitter.com/jh00wpZCgk
Imagine having to wait 35 years for the emoji movie pic.twitter.com/IQnV7JMKy9— big beef fan (@GranitJacka) January 15, 2018
The Royal Aid: Your Majesty, the population will revolt if we don’t end the cinema ban.— Taha (@KhanStopMe) January 15, 2018
The King of Saudi Arabia, an intellectual: Play The Emoji Movie until the population begs us to reinstate the ban. pic.twitter.com/JIPbYuwXyF
These people deserve a lot more then the emoji movie after 35 years of not having movies— DomaNyte (@DominikSzkoda6) January 15, 2018
after lifting a 35-year cinema ban and showing the emoji movie, saudi arabia institutes a 70-year cinema ban.— m😍rgan 💐 (@nothanksmorgan) January 15, 2018
If I had to wait 40+ years for cinemas to be allowed in my country and the first movie they show is Emoji Movie, I’d probably end up joining Al Nusra Front too tbf. pic.twitter.com/r65NZpq97D— Barbican Sayyed (@VimtoBaba) January 15, 2018
The screening, which was followed by a showing of "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie," took place on Sunday evening and marked an important milestone in the kingdom's history, as it was the first screening since Saudi Arabia lifted its cinema ban in December.
But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud spoke out in favor of returning to "moderate Islam" and initiated a number of unprecedented socio-cultural reforms which include lifting the ban on women driving in the country and allowing women to attend sports events at stadiums as well as lifting the ban on cinemas.