Months ago, Saudi Arabia ended a long-standing ban on cinemas in the country, announcing the kingdom's plans to open movie theaters in 2018.

Those plans were executed on Wednesday as the kingdom opened the doors to its first cinema in more than 35 years.

The AMC theater, which is located in the King Abdullah financial district in the capital city of Riyadh, screened Black Panther during the private, invite-only screening.

The moment was considered to be a historic one for the kingdom as slowly but surely sweeping changes take ground in the country.

"It's a new era, a new age. It's that simple. Things are changing, progress is happening. We're opening up and we're catching up with everything that's happening in the world," Rahaf Alhendi, an attendee, told TIME.

The first public screening will take place on Friday, according to Reuters. 

In 2017, Saudi Arabia finalized an agreement with AMC Entertainment Holdings - an American movie theater chain - which will see 40 theaters open in the kingdom in the next five years.

According to The Guardian, cinemas will not be gender segregated.

In hopes to build an industry that will contribute more than 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) to the economy, authorities plan to open 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens across the kingdom by 2030.

Cinemas were banned in the early 1980s after a number of powerful clerics closed down existing ones in the kingdom.

Prior to the ban lift, thousands of Saudis traveled to neighboring Bahrain for entertainment. Now, that is no longer the case.

Both the Saudi and international community welcomed the news on Twitter ... and to say enthusiasm dominated the conversation is an understatement.

"After 35 years"

"To some it might seem like a small step and long overdue, but to us, it's gargantuan"

On-point GIFs were used to express excitement


Clapping ... lots of it

Popcorn addicts pitched in...

"This is grand. Today is grand"

"The dream came true"

"A big day for cinema lovers"

"I love seeing progress in this country"

People loved the movie quotes printed on poles at the theater

Others were disappointed .... because popcorn was put on the floor?

Others put their sarcasm to the table to make a point

Memes came to life

"Step1 of Vision 2030"

In 2016, the kingdom established the General Authority for Entertainment, headed by Amr al-Madani, to enhance the cultural and entertainment sector within the country.

In January 2017, Al Madani stated that the ban on cinemas will be lifted in the country, revealing that movie theaters were expected to open soon.

Just over a year later, his statement turned into a concrete plan. 

Improvements in the entertainment sector, including the latest move, come as part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, an initiative focused on diversifying the country's economy.

Led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salam, the ambitious blueprint has already led to major transformations in the ultra-conservative kingdom.