Wonder Woman is officially banned in theaters in Lebanon because star Gal Gadot is from Israel and previously served in the Israeli army. Gadot’s star in Hollywood has steadily been on the rise in Hollywood since her breakthrough role as Gisele in Fast & Furious in 2009, a character she reprised in three more installments of the blockbuster franchise. After she considered quitting the film business after years of supporting roles, Gadot’s fortunes turned when director Zack Snyder hired her to play the pivotal role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman for 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which set the stage for her upcoming Wonder Woman solo movie, directed by Patty Jenkins, this week.
Now, just as movie fans worldwide are getting ready to see the biggest film of Gadot’s career, at least one country overseas is taking issue with the former Miss Israel’s Jewish heritage and service in the Israeli army.
As further confirmed by Deadline, Lebanon has officially banned the film, which was prompted by a movement by Lebanese group Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon. In an earlier report, Deadline explained that since Lebanon is officially at war with Israel, there is a Lebanese law that boycotts Israeli products and furthermore, prohibits citizens in Lebanon from traveling to Israel or having contact with Israelis. The ban was officially announced on Twitter Wednesday by Lebanese film chain Grand Cinemas.
Since Wonder Woman was only scheduled to open in 16 theaters in Lebanon, it will unlikely affect the film’s projected worldwide take of $175 million when the film debuts in theaters domestically and internationally this weekend. The curious question about the ban, however, is why now? Deadline says the Lebanon has not banned any of Gadot’s previous films, including Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (which grossed $843K there), Fast and Furious 6 ($788K), Fast Five ($520K), Triple 9 ($49K) and Criminal ($15K).
The publication did note that Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon did attempt without success to get Batman v Superman banned as well. It will be interesting to see what stance the group takes come November with Gadot’s involvement in Justice League.
While Wonder Woman is enjoying a lot of positive momentum going into this week’s opening – which includes several positive reviews from critics and a ringing endorsement from the live-action Wonder Woman TV show star Lynda Carter – it’s a shame that the banning of the film in Lebanon is leaving a negative mark on what has otherwise become a joyous celebration of not only the Wonder Woman film, but the iconic DC character long-awaited and deserved debut on the big screen. With any luck, there will be an 11th reprieve and reversal on the ban of the Wonder Woman in Lebanon so disappointed fans there can enjoy the story of a character who strives for peace all over the globe.