Warner Bros’ long-awaited Barbie movie has been banned in Vietnam.
The movie, which had been due to open in the country on 21 July, has been banned from domestic distribution over a scene featuring a map that shows China’s unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea, state media reported.
The U-shaped “nine-dash line” is used on Chinese maps to illustrate its claims over many areas of the South China Sea, including areas that Vietnam considers part of its continental shelf, where it has awarded oil concessions.
“We do not grant license for the American movie ‘Barbie’ to release in Vietnam because it contains the offending image of the nine-dash line,” Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Department of Cinema, a government body in charge of licensing and censoring foreign films, told Tuoi Tre newspaper.
What other movies have been banned in the country?
Barbie is not the first film to face a ban in the country.
In 2019, the Vietnamese government also pulled DreamWorks’ animated film Abominable and in 2022 they banned Sony’s action movie Uncharted for the same reason.
In 2021, Netflix also removed Pine Gap from its services in Vietnam following a complaint from the country’s broadcast officials.
Other shows and movies banned in the country according to IMDB include Family Guy, The Hunger Games, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon – among many others.
Vietnam and China have long had overlapping territorial claims to a potentially energy-rich stretch in the South China Sea.
The Southeast Asian country has repeatedly accused Chinese vessels of violating its sovereignty.
Sky News has contacted Warner Bros for comment.
The new Barbie movie
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling lead the cast of the new film about the famous doll.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, it will be released on 21 July here in the UK.
The family-friendly film will be just under two hours long.
The context of the scene which has led to the ban in Vietnam is unclear.
But trailers for the movie suggest cinemagoers can expect music and a lot of pink.