MTRCB Permits “Barbie” Movie Screening in the Philippines

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has decided to allow the screening of “Barbie” in the Philippines amid controversy, Philippine News Agency (PNA) reports.

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Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The country’s regulatory board was previously urged to block the upcoming showing of the Barbie movie in the Philippines, following Vietnam’s decision to ban it in their country due to a scene that allegedly displays the “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea.

Nevertheless, the MTRCB explained its decision through a letter signed by MTRCB chairperson Diorella Maria Sotto-Antonio. It read, “The Board believes that, all things considered, it has no basis to ban the film ‘Barbie’ as there is no clear nor outright depiction of the ‘nine-dash-line’ in the subject film, in comparison to films such as ‘Abominable’ and ‘Uncharted’.”

“Abominable” and “Uncharted” were banned from screening in the Philippines by the MTRCB in 2019 and 2022 respectively, as requested by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) due to its depiction of the ‘”nine-dash line” claim.

In the upcoming “Barbie” movie, however, “the dash lines attached to a landmass labeled ‘Asia’ is not U-shaped, and has eight dots/dashes instead of nine,” said MTRCB after conducting its review. It also noted that the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia are not visible on the map shown in the movie. Still, it has requested the film’s distributors, Warner Bros., to blur the lines.

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Screen captured from the official trailer of “Barbie” (2023)


“The MTRCB will continue to uphold the best interest of the Filipino people. To this end, we will issue a stern warning to all filmmakers/producers/distributors that the Board will continue to sanction, disallow, or ban films portraying any kind of depiction of the ‘nine-dash line’,” it reassured.

“Barbie,” which is set to hit Philippine cinemas on July 19, has also been given a Parental Guidance (PG) rating by the committee. This rating means that viewers of the Greta Gerwig film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling who are 13 years old and below must be accompanied by a parent or a supervising adult.

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