We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Why the Barbie movie is banned in Vietnam

The Barbie movie is one of the most exciting movies of 2023, but it has been banned in Vietnam amid a political row. So what in the Dreamhouse is going on.

Why the Barbie movie is banned in Vietnam

Why is the Barbie movie banned in Vietnam? The Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, is one part of this summer’s hottest blockbuster double bill with Oppenheimer. Somehow, it has also attracted controversy in Asia.

Barbie has arrived into our world in an explosion of color – the movie even caused a worldwide shortage of pink paint – and is now one of the most hotly-anticipated new movies of 2023. Greta Gerwig‘s take on the famous range of dolls has all of the tools to sit among the best comedy movies of this year.

The Barbie movie release date is just a few weeks away, but the new Margot Robbie adventure has been yanked from the schedules in Vietnam at the eleventh hour. As for why the Barbie movie is banned in Vietnam, that’s all because of a crayon drawing of a map. Let’s delve into this one.

Why is the Barbie movie banned in Vietnam?

The Barbie movie has been banned in Vietnam due to its inclusion of a map, which appears to show the disputed “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is one of the busiest trade routes in the world and is hugely strategically important to nations in Asia. The “nine-dash line” represents China’s claim to a large area of these waters, which is opposed by nations including Vietnam and the Philippines. It appears to show up in a map doodled in the Barbie trailer.

This map got the Barbie movie banned in Vietnam

Hollywood has long faced struggles with its depiction of the South China Sea, leading to similar bans for movies including Uncharted and the animation Abominable. On both of those occasions, controversial maps were the culprit.

On this occasion, Warner Bros. issued a statement to Reuters defending the inclusion of the map. “The map in Barbie Land is a whimsical, child-like crayon drawing. The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the real world. It was not intended to make any type of statement.”

The Barbie movie had been set for a July 21, 2023 release in Vietnam, but it has now been pulled from the calendar.

YouTube Thumbnail

Is the Barbie movie banned in the Philippines?

The Barbie movie hasn’t been banned in the Philippines yet, but politicians in the country are considering joining Vietnam’s ban.

The Philippines has often joined Vietnam in taking action on depictions of the nine-dash line, and a ban is very much in the offing. Senators in the country have spoken out against Barbie, with the Philippines’ Movie and Television Review and Classification Board currently working on a course of action.

Who’d have thought a comedy about a range of toys could find itself at the center of an international, geopolitical row?

The Barbie movie is banned in Vietnam

We’re expecting Barbie to be among the best movies of the year. We’ve already written about how the Barbie movie’s body diversity couldn’t have come at a better time and the other iconic toys that should get a movie adaptation.

Elsewhere, the original Barbie movie writer has explained how The Lego Movie got in her way, and Tom Cruise has explained his approach to the summer’s biggest double bill, as the Oppenheimer release date also looms.

Meanwhile, find out about more of the 2023 movies you have to see, including the Wonka release date and The Marvels release date.