Skip to main content

Arab moviegoers wait to see 'Barbie' as UAE, Saudi screenings loom

The summer box office hit is maintaining its delayed premier date of Aug. 31 in the UAE, Al-Monitor confirmed with Vox Cinemas.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

DUBAI — While Moroccan and Tunisian theaters screened the highly anticipated "Barbie" in July along with the rest of the world, movie fans in several Middle Eastern countries have had to wait.

The United Arab Emirates delayed the premier date of July 20 to Aug. 31 without specifying a reason, sparking fears that the movie would eventually be banned in the country. On Thursday evening, local news outlets reported that "Barbie" was approved for screening in licensed cinemas across the country.

"The UAE Media Council has granted the Barbie movie approval to be screened in the UAE’s licensed cinemas after completing the necessary procedures in line with the standards of media content and the UAE age classification," wrote the government authority on Thursday according to local outlets. It did not clarify what aspects of the movie needed approval or if any changes would be made.

The summer box office hit is set to premier Aug. 31 in the UAE, Al-Monitor confirmed with Vox Cinemas, a subsidiary of retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim. Roxy Cinemas announced on its website that its theaters will do the same. Both companies have not permitted customers to buy or reserve tickets yet. It is still unclear whether other countries with similar delays in Jordan and Oman, will approve the film for screening. Egypt has greenlit the screening.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.