Algerian authorities have pulled runaway box office hit Barbie from local cinemas over its “damaging morals”.
The movie had been playing successfully since it opened three weeks ago — attracting an estimated 40,000 viewers — but a scan of local programming shows it is no longer screening in the country’s main cinemas after the culture ministry asked for its withdrawal.
An “official source” told Reuters the movie was taken out because it was deeemed to “promote homosexuality and did not comply with Algeria’s religious and cultural beliefs”.
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Private news site 24H Algérie was first to report the ban, noting that the government informed the local distributor MD Ciné and leading cinemas that the film was being pulled for “damaging morals”.
The move comes after Warner Bros’ billion-dollar hit was banned in Kuwait and has hit roadblocks in Lebanon.
A spokesman for the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information told the BBC last week that Barbie “promulgate[s] ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order”.
The Lebanese Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada last week asked the interior ministry to “take all necessary measures to ban” Barbie. He said the film “promotes homosexuality and transsexuality… supports rejecting a father’s guardianship, undermines and ridicules the role of the mother, and questions the necessity of marriage and having a family”.
The film is being reviewed by censors in Lebanon and is not currently programmed in cinemas.
Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, has been a box office and cultural phenomenon this summer, drumming up more than one billion dollars globally.
We have reached out to Warner Bros and Algeria’s Culture Ministry for comment.
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