News Commentary

Algeria pulls Barbie from cinemas for 'violating morals'

Agence France-Presse
Algeria pulls Barbie from cinemas for 'violating morals'
Australian actress Margot Robbie arrives for the world premiere of "Barbie" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on July 9, 2023. Hollywood's pink wave has yet to crest as Warner Bros.' "Barbie" dominated for a third straight weekend in North American theaters, pushing the film's global haul past $1 billion in a first for a solo woman director, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said August 6. The Greta Gerwig-directed blockbuster has tapped into a cultural zeitgeist: not only did it make history by hitting the billion-dollar box office milestone, it also did so faster than any film -- including those directed by men -- in Warner Bros.' 100-year history, executives there said.
AFP/Michael Tran

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria has withdrawn the film "Barbie" from its cinemas for reportedly breaching morals, joining a growing number of Arab countries barring the global box office hit.

Barbie, which has topped $1.2 billion in worldwide revenues, was released in Algeria on July 19 before cinemas removed it from their schedules on Sunday without explanation.

The film's distributor in the North African country also announced its removal without saying why.

Online news site 24H Algerie said the film was removed for "violating morals", citing well-informed sources. 

"Algeria has become embroiled in controversy over Barbie due to scenes intended for adult audiences" and allusions to homosexuality, the news site TSA reported.

It said the film was "discreetly withdrawn from cinemas."

Though it was widely anticipated by LGBTQ communities around the world, the film does not contain any overt references to same-sex relationships or queer themes. 

Algeria's culture ministry, which usually announces film bans and its reasoning, has so far remained silent. 

The decision to halt screenings of Barbie in the country follows similar moves in the region.

Kuwait barred the film on Thursday over concerns about "public ethics", officials said.

Lebanon's culture minister said the day before he had asked authorities to ban Barbie for purportedly "promoting homosexuality", as anti-LGBTQ rhetoric soars in one of the Middle East's more liberal countries.

The film is still not being screened in Qatar, though there has been no official announcement on the matter. 

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