Despite its remarkable box office success and status as a cultural phenomenon, the film "Barbie" is currently facing bans in an increasing number of countries worldwide. The blockbuster movie, directed by Greta Gerwig and cantered around the iconic doll, has incited conservative backlash and geopolitical tensions in certain regions.
In Algeria, authorities removed "Barbie" from theatres this week, nearly a month after its local release.
The official explanation behind this ban remains undisclosed, with neither Algeria's Ministry of Culture and Arts nor its Audiovisual Regulatory Authority offering an official clarification.
In Lebanon, the movie is not yet officially banned but the fate of "Barbie" awaits a decision from a government censorship committee. A prominent official in Lebanon, Minister of Culture Mohammad Mortada, called for the film's prohibition. He said the film "promotes homosexuality and transsexuality... supports rejecting a father's guardianship, undermines and ridicules the role of the mother, and questions
the necessity of marriage and having a family".
Kuwait acted to protect "public ethics" and banned the film. Lafi al-Subaiei, the head of Kuwait's board of film classification, said that usually, the board asks for movie scenes deemed to flout his country's culture to be cut. But when they promote behaviour the state thinks is unacceptable, they are banned outright.
In early July, Vietnamese authorities prohibited the screening of the film, asserting that it displayed a map featuring disputed territorial claims by China in the South China Sea. According to state media reports, the map was criticised for distorting the truth and violating the law. Warner Bros. Film Group defended the map as a child-like crayon drawing, illustrating Barbie's imaginative journey from her fictional realm to the real world. The intention was not to convey any form of statement.
These bans highlight the global controversy and varied reactions surrounding the film "Barbie," despite its commercial triumph and cultural impact. The movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling has become the second highest-grossing film of 2023 worldwide behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie, passing the $ 1 billion mark earlier this month at the box office.