Delayed ‘Barbie’ Movie Set for Release in UAE

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Delayed ‘Barbie’ Movie Set for Release in UAE

The United Arab Emirates has finally granted approval for the release of the highly anticipated “Barbie” movie, following a delay of over a month due to concerns surrounding its content. Similar delays were observed in other Arab nations, sparking curiosity and speculation among fans. The UAE Media Council made the announcement late Thursday, stating that the necessary procedures have been completed to align the movie with their media content standards and age classification guidelines. Notably, the film’s inclusion of a transgender actress as Barbie and its messaging on LGBTQ+ issues raised concerns in Arab countries, where traditional beliefs may conflict with such portrayals. This article delves into the UAE’s decision to approve the movie, the sensitive themes addressed, and the potential impact on audiences.

Margot Robbie, left, and Ryan Gosling in Barbie
Margot Robbie, left, and Ryan Gosling in Barbie

UAE Media Council Grants Approval:

After much anticipation and a period of uncertainty, the UAE Media Council has given the green light for the “Barbie” movie to be screened in the country’s licensed cinemas. The council assures that the necessary steps have been taken to ensure compliance with the UAE’s media content standards and age classification requirements. While no specific explanation was provided for the initial delay, the council’s thorough review aims to address any potential content issues and align the movie with local cultural sensitivities.

Sensitive Themes and Arab Cultural Perspectives:

The main reason behind the delay in the movie’s release across Arab countries, including the UAE, revolves around its portrayal of sensitive themes related to LGBTQ+ issues. The movie features a transgender actress, Hari Nef, playing one of the Barbie characters, which has raised concerns in countries with Muslim majorities, where homosexuality and transgender identity are sometimes perceived as contrary to Islamic religious beliefs.

Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Cultural Impact:

Directed by Greta Gerwig, “Barbie” has gained significant attention as a cultural phenomenon and box-office sensation, amassing an impressive $824 million worldwide within just two weeks of its theatrical release. The movie stars Margot Robbie as the iconic doll, Barbie, and Ryan Gosling as Ken, among several other talented actors who portray various “Barbies” and “Kens.”

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Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., the production studio behind the movie, has chosen not to comment on the approval or the delay in release. Additionally, Majid Al Futtaim, the distributor of Warner Bros. movies in the Middle East, has not responded to media inquiries at the time of writing.

Previous Content Delays and the Changing Landscape:

This is not the first time that Arab countries have faced content delays or bans due to sensitive themes. In the past, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” encountered a similar fate due to the inclusion of a transgender reference, prompting concerns and debates over artistic expression and cultural acceptance.

The approval of “Barbie” in the UAE marks a significant milestone for the movie’s release in the Arab world. The decision by the UAE Media Council demonstrates a careful consideration of cultural sensitivities and media content standards. As audiences prepare to experience the highly anticipated “Barbie” movie, it remains to be seen how its themes and portrayals will resonate with viewers in the region. With the film’s ability to spark meaningful discussions on representation and diversity, it adds to the ongoing conversation about the evolving cultural landscape in the Arab world.

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