[Fox News] ‘Barbie’ premiere postponed in Middle East due to LGBTQ-related content, may not debut in some Arab countries

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Warner Brother’s main Middle East distribution partner has delayed the premiere of “Barbie” in that part of the world for almost another month as both the studio and distributor attempt to edit the film to the satisfaction of the region’s censors.

The original premiere date of July 19 meant that Middle Eastern cinema goers would have been able to view the movie before U.S. audiences, but the distributor, Vox Cinemas, pushed it back to August 31. 

A source told Hollywood outlet Variety that the delay happened due to Warner Brothers not having yet completed edits to the film requested by the region’s censors, described as “alleged LGBTQ-related narration and dialogue.”

Variety reported it “does not seem likely” that the cuts requested by Middle Eastern censors will be approved by Warner Brothers, so the film may never see the light of day in some countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and even Egypt. 

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Seeming to corroborate speculation the film won’t be released, Saudi film platform Movsto tweeted Sunday that the movie will not be shown in those countries, and others including Qatar and Bahrain.

Warner Brothers and Vox Media have yet to comment on the claim. 

Movies containing sex scenes, strong sexual themes, homosexuality and other LGBTQ depictions, as well as religious issues, are edited before distribution in the Middle East. Studios that do not comply with censorship standards have their films banned in the region.

Most recently, the popular animated superhero film “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” was not released in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in June. Experts point to the fact that the film featured a scene in which a “Protect Trans Lives” poster was depicted in the background.

Variety reporter Nick Vivarelli noted that “there does not seem to be much content in the film that is blatantly queer,” though several of the film’s stars are “openly LGBTQ actors.”

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The reporter theorized that “the film may just simply be too camp while also posing too great a challenge to traditional male authority for the Middle East.”

“Barbie” was banned or almost banned in multiple Asian countries over controversy generated by a cartoon map shown in trailers for the film.

The map contained dash lines near a crude depiction of China that government officials in the Philippines suggested expressed solidarity with Communist China’s disputed claims in the South China Sea

Officials said the depiction could result in the movie not premiering in the Philippines.

The Vietnamese government went so far as to ban the film in the country over the cartoon map’s inclusion, though Warner Brothers responded by denying the map depicts any of China’s geopolitical interests. 

A studio spokesperson claimed, “The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing. The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ It was not intended to make any type of statement.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Warner Brothers for comment on whether the studio will complete edits satisfactory for its Middle East distributors.

For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit foxnews.com/media

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