Will under-15s be allowed to watch 'Barbie' in UAE cinemas?

Here's what parents have to say about the possible age restriction


Nasreen Abdulla

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Warner Bros. Pictures via AP, File
Warner Bros. Pictures via AP, File

Published: Wed 9 Aug 2023, 7:07 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Aug 2023, 11:35 PM

The blockbuster Barbie movie will be out in UAE cinemas on August 10 — and several residents could barely wait to dress up in pink and watch the iconic doll come to life. However, it has been confirmed that the film is rated 15+ in the country as opposed to the global rating of PG-13.

However, it is not clear whether children under the age of 15 will be allowed into cinema halls to watch the movie. One cinema house has updated its notification to indicate that young children will be allowed for the movie if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

However, other movie houses have alerts on their apps stating only those aged 15 and over will be allowed to watch the film.

Several parents are still confused whether they will be able to take their young children for the runaway hit that has already crossed $1 billion at the global box office.

Mixed reaction

One mother, Mehnaz, said she was not surprised that the movie got a 15+ rating, adding that it wasn’t going to change her plans.

“I was planning on watching it with my sisters,” she said. “My teen and pre-teen daughters wanted to watch it but it is not a kids' movie, so I was not planning on taking them,” she said.

Another parent Shiyaz said his daughter had plans to watch the movie. "From what I have heard, the themes addressed in the film are not very child friendly, so I am a little hesitant about letting my daughter watch it," he said. "However, my daughter is really excited to watch it with her friends. She had an outfit planned, she had bought a special shade of nail polish to wear and even a pair of shoes. I am not sure whether she will be allowed into the theatre or not."

Some have reacted with disappointment. Dubai resident Alaa had planned to watch the movie with her 8-year-old daughter and 12-year-old niece. “We had planned to dress up in pink to go watch the movie,” she said. “So, when we heard that the movie was 15+, the girls were absolutely heartbroken. They are both huge Barbie fans. I am really hoping that I will get a chance to go and watch the movie with the girls.”

Early start

Several residents have booked their tickets early to watch the first show in the country. In some locations, the shows start as early as 10am on Thursday. Many theatres have several sold-out shows while the remaining slots are filling up fast.

The movie, directed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Greta Gerwig based on the iconic doll, was released on July 9 worldwide. Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the lead roles, the story revolved around the existential crisis Barbie faces when she steps out of her seemingly perfect world.


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