(UPDATE May 31: Variety confirms that Lebanon has officially banned “Wonder Woman” just two hours before it was expected to premiere in theaters. The ban was announced on the official Twitter feed of Lebanon’s Grand Cinemas.)
“Wonder Woman,” one of the most high profile blockbusters of the summer season, begins rolling out in theaters around the world this week, but it could face a major roadblock in Lebanon should a boycott request take shape.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the anti-Israeli group Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon is spearheading a campaign to ensure the movie is not allowed to screen in Lebanese theaters because star Gal Gadot is Israeli. The two countries are currently at war, with the Lebanese government boycotting Israeli products and prohibiting citizens from traveling to Israel.
Before becoming an actress, Gadot served in the Israeli army and she has continuously showed support for her home country during political conflicts. During the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, for instance, she wrote social posts dedicated to the soldiers “who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas.” Gadot’s heritage and support for Israel is the driving factor in the Campaign’s “Wonder Women” boycott.
A movie premiere for the superhero film is still set for Wednesday in at least one Beirut theater, but the group is hoping their boycott request is heard before then. They have officially sent in a request to ban the film, but in order for it to be approved it needs a recommendation from a six-member committee from the Ministry of Economy.
“We now await the implementation,” said boycott member Samah Idriss to the Associated Press. “Even if it is one hour before the show, they should ban it anyway.”
The prospective ban comes on the heels of the positive reviews that hit last night from American publications. In her A- review, IndieWire film editor Kate Erbland called “Wonder Women” the best DCEU movie to date, with significant praise going to Gadot’s performance and the way director Patty Jenkins “blends humor, heart, and one hell of a heroine.”
“Wonder Women” opens in U.S. theaters this Friday, June 2.