MTRCB approves 'Barbie' for commercial release

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
MTRCB approves 'Barbie' for commercial release
Margot Robbie stars as Barbie in a live-action film.
Warner Bros. Ent.

MANILA, Philippines — The Movie & Television Review & Classification Board (MTRCB) has greenlit Warner Bros.' upcoming movie "Barbie" starring Margot Robbie as the titular doll for commercial release in the Philippines.

The fate of "Barbie" was in the air following concerns that the film allegedly has scenes depicting a map showing China's territorial claims in the South China Sea through its so-called nine-dash line.

Last week, Vietnam's own film regulation board decided to ban the movie for release, and soon the MTRCB confirmed that a committee was deliberating the request of Warner Bros. to exhibit the film.

MTRCB chairperson Lala Sotto previously told GMA News that the local distributor applied for rating and classification before Vietnam's decision.

The agency sent a letter announcing it would allow "Barbie" for commercial release to the office of Sen. Francis Tolentino — one of the senators lobbying for the film's ban because of its alleged use of the so-called nine-dash line — which shared it to several media outlets.

The MTRCB reminded the public in the announcement of its mandate to ban movies and television shows with clear portrayals of scenes that are "injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines such as the 'nine-dash line'" and would conversely not ban projects if such materials don't pose a threat.

"The Board believes that, all things considered, it has no basis to ban the film 'Barbie' as there is no clear nor outright depiction of the 'nine-dash line' in the subject of the film," the MTRCB said, noting the past instances of the films "Abominable" and "Uncharted."

Related: MTRCB deliberating on 'Barbie' amid banning concerns over South China Sea map

2022's "Uncharted" starring Tom Holland was pulled out from cinemas — two months after its release — as the film had a scene with a map depicting China's nine-dash line, and according to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the scene was contrary to national interest; the DFA made similar requests to pull out the animated "Abominable" in 2019.

The DFA stressed then that China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea, had been settled by the July 2016 arbitral award by the UNCLOS-backed tribunal which ruled that claim as invalid.

Prior to the MTRCB's announcement, a spokespeson for Warner Bros. had explained that the controversial was 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,” the Warner Bros Film Group spokesperson added.

The MTRCB also gave "Barbie" a PG rating meaning viewers under 13 years old must be accompanied by a supervising adult.

With the green light, "Barbie" is set to carry on its Philippine wide release on July 19.

RELATED: 'Child-like drawing' not 9-dash line: Warner Bros explains controversial map on 'Barbie' movie

vuukle comment





  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with