Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been prevented from being released in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern nations ahead of its scheduled June 22 debut in the region, reports US entertainment magazine Deadline.
According to Saudi Cinema, which is managed by the General Commission for Audiovisual Media, the highly anticipated animated film would not be released in some parts of the Gulf region since it “contradicts the content controls in force”.
While the exact reason behind the ban is unknown, many assume that the decision has to do with the brief appearance of a pro-trans flag, with many fans speculating that the character of Gwen is a trans-ally. Though not much is known about Gwen Stacy’s adolescent experience, she talks to her father about her own identity in one of the scenes of the movie. In another scene, a trans flag with the words “Protect Trans Kids” can be seen hanging on the wall of her room.
Gwen Stacy in her room in Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse. Twitter
Though it remains unclear whether Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will receive a release in the region, its predecessor Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) got released in the region and grossed over USD 1.7 million.
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson, the second instalment of the Spider-verse saga features an ensemble voice cast of Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Vélez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya and Oscar Isaac.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Marvel Entertainment.