The blockbuster film, ‘Barbie’, continues its triumphant stride at global box offices, but it has run into controversy in Pakistan, where authorities are contemplating a ban over its LGBTQ+ themes.

Despite the movie being immensely popular, it hasn’t escaped scrutiny, particularly from religious hardliners in Pakistan, with The Punjab Censor Board placing a temporary halt on the film’s screenings due to what it has flagged as “objectionable content.”

Reports from Daily Pakistan indicate that the ban is not intended to be permanent; however, authorities are believed to be reviewing the movie and plan to remove the contentious scenes. The revised version of ‘Barbie’ is expected to debut in Pakistani cinemas at an undisclosed future date once the review and editing processes are complete.


Interestingly, Pakistan is not the lone Islamic nation to implement restrictions on ‘Barbie’. Other countries, including the UAE, Egypt, Qatar, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, have followed suit, reflecting the often contentious reception of pro-LGBTQ+ content in these regions. Out of these, Iran has been the most drastic, instituting a permanent ban on the movie.

However, it’s not just Islamic nations that have taken issue with the film. Russia, Vietnam, and the Philippines have also implemented their own bans. The Russian authorities have cited concerns about the film promoting consumerism among young viewers. Meanwhile, Vietnam and the Philippines have objected to the film’s portrayal of the Nine Dash Line, a depiction they argue undermines their sovereignty and bolsters China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Despite these hurdles, Director Greta Gerwig’s fantasy-comedy movie, featuring stars like Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, has received widespread critical acclaim and commercial success. The film is selling out in many cinemas worldwide, including India.

The film’s competitor, ‘Oppenheimer’, has also garnered an overwhelmingly positive reception, slightly edging out ‘Barbie’ in terms of critical acclaim. However, as the box office rivalry between ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ —dubbed the ‘Barbenheimer’ war— unfolds, ‘Barbie’ seems poised to dominate in terms of revenue.