Spider-Man Gets Caught In A Web of Censorship Guidelines Across The Middle East

Much to the disappointment of fans across the region, the highly anticipated release of ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ in the Middle East has been cancelled in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and more. The sequel to the hugely popular 2018 film, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, was set to make its debut on June 22, just in time for the upcoming Eid Al Adha holiday. Unfortunately, the film failed to meet the censorship requirements imposed in the region, and will no longer be available for theatrical release. 

Despite the international success of ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, the second part will not be screened in theaters across the Middle East. Speculation had been running rampant on social media for days, with many fans eagerly anticipating the release and reaching out to local exhibitors for information.

While censorship rules were thought to have relaxed in the UAE in 2021, local customs and values still affect what content is appropriate for public screening. Animated films, like Spider-Man, are typically classified as children’s content and are therefore subject to even stricter guidelines.

This is not the first time that a film has been banned in the region due to content that does not meet local values. Last year, Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear faced a similar fate after public disapproval over its content.

Although Spider-Man is part of the Marvel pantheon owned by Disney, the character was licensed to Sony in the late 1990s, and all Spider-Verse content is through Sony first. While Marvel Studios and Sony have a deal in place for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it does not extend to all Spider-Man content.

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