Warner Bros.’s controversial film Barbie starring Margot Robbie in the titular role has received the green light from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for its commercial release in the Philippines.
In a three-page letter addressed to the office of Senator Francis Tolentino, who had lobbied for the film’s prohibition, the board stated there is “no basis” for a ban.
Concerns arose about the fate of Barbie due to allegations that a scene in the film depicts a map illustrating China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea using the contentious nine-dash line.
The MTRCB emphasized its mandate to ban content that harms the country’s reputation, but since Barbie does not depict the “nine-dash line” explicitly, the board found no reason to ban it, citing previous cases involving films like Abominable and Uncharted.
Early this month, Vietnam’s own film regulation board decided to prohibit the movie from being released, prompting the MTRCB to confirm that a committee was deliberating Warner Bros.’ request to exhibit the film in the country.
Last Friday, the Califoprnia-based film defended the map and suggested in a statement that it carried no significant meaning.
“The map in Barbie Land is a whimsical, child-like crayon drawing,” Warner Bros. said. “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.”