‘Spider-Verse’ Sequel Banned In Saudi Arabia, UAE Over Trans Flag: Report

SHANGHAI, CHINA - MAY 31: A poster of film "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" is displayed on the exterior wall of a theatre on May 31, 2023 in Shanghai, China.
Photo by Wang Gang/VCG via Getty Images

Marvel’s “Spider-Verse” sequel has been banned from release in theaters in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and across the Middle East — reportedly over the inclusion of a “Protect Trans Kids” poster seen in the film.

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” was previously set to hit theaters in the region on June 22, but those plans are reportedly now off after the highly-anticipated animated super hero film failed to “pass censorship requirements” in the area, Esquire Middle East reported.

The report noted, that the word comes after speculation across social media prompted calls to in to local exhibitors, namely Vox Cinemas — the leading theatrical firm in the UAE and Saudi Arabia — and were told reportedly that film was not releasing.

In the region, films particularly geared towards kids — as this one certainly is — must meet certain guidelines that adhere to “local customs and values,” the outlet noted.

While there has been yet no official reason for the film being banned, Gay Times noted that it was reportedly because of the pro-Trans kids flag shown on screen in the room of one of the fictional characters Gwen Stacy.

In 2018, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” had a successful run in the region throughout that year and early into 2019. However, the film did not include any blatant references to transgender kids or to the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2022, Disney’s Pixar film “Lightyear” faced the same fate, as it was also shelved and didn’t get released. That film’s ban was believed to be due to the animated movie’s inclusion of an LGBTQ love storyline and a kiss between two female characters, one of whom had a lead role in the film.

“Lightyear” was banned “due to its violation of the country’s media content standards,” the country’s media regulator said in a tweet, at the time, while not specifying which standard had been violated, as previously reported.

It’s not the first time a movie was banned in the Middle East for homosexual content. The Hollywood Reporter noted that in April, 2022, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was denied a theatrical release due to its inclusion of a gay character.

(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids’ entertainment content.)

Related: Did Sony Make Gwen Stacy Trans In New ‘Spider-Man’ Film?

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