‘The Emoji Movie’ Is the First Film Screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years Because of Course It Is

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‘The Emoji Movie’ Is the First Film Screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years Because of Course It Is

‘The Emoji Movie’ Is the First Film Screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years Because of Course It Is

The Emoji Movie was a shit movie.  That’s not a controversial thing to say, either as an opinion or as a simple description of what it’s about.  It was both one of the worst received movies of last year and featured Patrick Stewart as the voice of the poop emoji as a major selling point in its marketing campaign.

It’s a movie that nobody asked for.  It’s a movie that virtually nobody saw.  Of those unfortunate to have to sit through it, it’s a movie that nobody liked.  It was by all accounts an abject failure and wasn’t even conceptually a good idea to sink money into (and, judging by the animation quality, it was mercifully little).

‘The Emoji Movie’ Is the First Film Screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years Because of Course It Is

When Saudi Arabia lifted its generational ban on cinemas — opening the country to the global film industry for the first time in 35 years — speculation abounded concerning what the first film to be featured in the country would be.  Would it be the latest, crowd-pleasing blockbuster?  Would it be a visceral, critically acclaimed drama?  Would it be one of this year’s many awards contenders?  Would it challenge the present regime or would it be a safe, sanitized pick that wouldn’t rouse any ire from the country’s conservative religious contingent?

Of all the multitudinous possibilities that awaited the country, their first look into the wide world of the modern movie landscape was, you guessed it, The Emoji Movie.  Because this truly is the darkest timeline and we deserve to have salt rubbed into every wound.

‘The Emoji Movie’ Is the First Film Screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years Because of Course It Is

The ban was first enacted in the 1980s at the behest of the fundamentalist regime that had set itself against anything so much as smelling of Western culture.  Restrictions started to ease when the reigning prince took office, and in mid-December, the decades long ban on cinema was finally lifted.

The first screening took place over this weekend in a makeshift theater rigged up to commemorate the occasion.  Permanent multiplexes are expected to be constructed within the year, and regular showings of the latest movies to coincide with them.

‘The Emoji Movie’ Is the First Film Screened in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years Because of Course It Is

But for my money, I want to know who wanted to see The Emoji Movie so bad that they made it their mission to have it be the first thing that the country sees.  Between the recent Star Wars, the MCU — even the DCU — and quality films of all makes and models… somehow they ended up with this.

Because of course it is.

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