A number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region have banned the film from screening.
The highly-anticipated blockbuster Barbie movie will not be shown in cinemas across Qatar, a source confirmed to Doha News, following similar decisions by other countries in the region.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed the latest development to Doha News despite a previous announcement by Qatar-based Elan Group which had set 31 August as the release date.
As it stands, the film is not listed as a ‘current’ or ‘upcoming release’ at any local movie theatre, including Novo Cinemas and VOX.
Just days ahead of the announced screening, a social media post which showed a conversation between a user and Novo Cinemas Qatar also appeared to confirm the decision.
When asked whether the movie would be shown in the Gulf state, the alleged Novo Cinemas Qatar account replied with:”Unfortunately, Barbie could not pass the censorship and is banned in Qatar.”
Doha News has reached out to Elan and Qatar’s Ministry of Culture for a comment but has yet to receive a response. The reason for the apparent ban has not been made public, however it falls in line with decisions made in other regional countries which cited “cultural” issues.
Arguably one of the biggest movies to screen this year, the movie is based on Mattel Inc.’s popular fashion doll, Barbie. According to Bloomberg, the movie is the “biggest box office hit for Warner Bros. Discovery Inc” and is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.
It hit a record $1.3 billion in global ticket sales this week, beating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which was released in 2011.
However, plans to rollout the movie in the Arab world have been far from smooth sailing, with Kuwait and Oman and already publicly banning its release.
Earlier this month, a spokesman for the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information said the decision was made to preserve “public ethics and social traditions” and claimed the film “promulgates ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order”.
Last week, Lebanon u-turned on its decision to bar the movie from screens across the country following a review by its Film Control Committee triggered by public backlash.
Algeria pulled the film from theatres after a brief run, according to reports.
The United Arab Emirates postponed the release date before eventually screening the movie. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain have also gone ahead with the release.