'Barbie' Kept Off Screens In Punjab

'Barbie' Kept Off Screens In Punjab
Young girls, teens and even older women, all decked out in pink, and some men as well, were left disappointed when they turned up at cinemas in Punjab but were only offered a refund as their movie of choice "Barbie" was not yet approved for screening by the provincial censor board.

The film, which is playing in other parts of Pakistan with no amendments, has been held up in the most populous province of the country because the censor board refused to clear it unless certain amendments were made.

The film has now been sent for a review, and until an amended copy is submitted and accorded clearance, it will stay off cinemas.

"Barbie", along with Christopher Nolan's epic "Oppenheimer", are considered to be this summer's biggest movie attraction and has already taken America by storm, making producers of long-established movie franchises such as Fast and the Furious, Mission Impossible and Indiana Jones sweat over box office prospects of their offerings (tenth, seventh and fifth sequels respectively).

In Pakistan, however, rumours are rife that the film may have provoked the ire of the censor board due to possible LGBTQ themes.

The fantasy comedy film about the famous doll, directed by Greta Gerwig, stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

The face-off with "Oppenheimer" -- a movie about the father of the atomic bomb, means that the contrast cannot be any more stark. Pink of "Barbie" versus the amber of a nuclear blast.

Fans have dubbed the doubleheader 'Barbenheimer' - a mash-up of titles from both movies.

In the US, the frenzy is fever pitch. Both movies are off to strong starts, with the cotton candy-hued "Barbie" bringing in $22.3 million from previews and "Oppenheimer" $10.5 million, said Daniel Loria, editorial director at Boxoffice Pro.

For the weekend, "Barbie" could take in $150 million, according to estimates, exceeding December's opening of "Avatar: The Way of Water."

The online buzz surrounding same-day viewings drew salesman Eric Adams, 27, to the cinema in New York on Friday.

"I just wanted to be in on it, and the theatre was full at 10:30 in the morning, so that was pretty crazy," he said, noting that it was a problem finding tickets to "Barbie".

Banned in Vietnam

Meanwhile, "Barbie" has been completely banned in Vietnam, but not for the reasons it may be facing challenges in Pakistan.

The ban was imposed on Warner Bros' highly-anticipated film over a scene that features a map showing China's unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea.

A U-shaped "nine-dash line" is used on Chinese maps to illustrate its claims over vast areas of the South China Sea, including swathes of what Vietnam considers its continental shelf, where it has awarded oil concessions.

The territory was repudiated in an international arbitration ruling by a court in The Hague in 2016, but China refuses to recognise the ruling.

"Barbie" is not the only movie to face complications in Vietnam due to the map. In 2019 the government pulled DreamWorks' animated film "Abominable". Last year it banned Sony's game-based action movie "Unchartered" for the same reason. Netflix also had to remove Australian spy mini-series "Pine Gap" from its streaming app in Vietnam in 2021.