Philippines considers banning 'Barbie' movie over South China Sea map

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(KTLA) – Another country may ban the upcoming “Barbie” movie because it features a map depicting China’s disputed claims on territory in the South China Sea. 

Officials with the film review board in the Philippines are deliberating on whether to show “Barbie” in the country after it was revealed the movie features a map that shows the “nine-dash line.”

The nine-dash line, which China has claimed as its maritime border, has brought about tense confrontations with countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, who reject China’s assertions.

The nine-dash line was “repudiated in an international arbitration ruling by a court in The Hague in 2016,” according to Reuters. “China refuses to recognize the ruling.”

On Tuesday, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board of the Philippines posted a message to its website about the movie.

“We confirm that the Board has reviewed the film ‘Barbie’ today, 04 July 2023. At this time, the assigned Committee on First Review is deliberating on the request of Warner Brothers F.E. Inc. for a Permit to Exhibit.”

Local Sen. Francis Tolentino spoke to CNN Philippines that same day and touched on the topic.

Tolentino said that editing out the map could be a “middle ground.”

“If the invalidated nine-dash line was indeed depicted in the movie ‘Barbie,’ then it is incumbent upon the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board of the Philippines to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty.”

Such a move, however, could risk angering film regulators in China, where “Barbie” has already been approved for a release and is expected to earn far more than it does in Southeast Asia. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment. 

Earlier this week, Vietnam banned the film over the same marking and claimed it too violated the country’s sovereignty.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the film has already been approved to be released in China, and the edit could anger the country.

“Barbie” is currently set to hit theaters in the Philippines on July 19.



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