Love anything as much as some countries just love banning movies. It feels like a time-honored tradition in some places to find something wrong with a movie and make it impossible for citizens in an area to see said flick. It’s happened again, this time with a recently-released Gal Gadot movie that took forever to even see the light of day. And just when it finally made its way to the big screen, wham, it got the ban hammer in a couple of places. According to Deadline (via the New York Post), Death on the Nile has been banned in Kuwait and Lebanon specifically because of Gadot’s involvement in the film. What a silly world we live in.
Death on the Nile was banned in these two countries because of Gal Gadot and her previous involvement with the Israeli military, the Israeli Defense Services. It is a law in Lebanon to not allow any Israeli services or products into the country and, in this way, by the transitive property, the Gal Gadot movie was not able to screen because of her involvement with the IDF. Similarly, in Kuwait, online protests happened because of the movie and Gadot, making it relatively easy to stop all screenings in the country.
According to the reporting, this isn’t the first time a Gal Gadot movie was banned in Lebanon with Wonder Woman facing a similar fate when it was first released. Again, Gadot’s involvement in the IDF was cited as the reason for not putting it up on the big screen in the country. It’s worth noting that Gadot is an Israeli citizen and by law in that country, all citizens are required to fulfill a minimum military requirement at a young age. In this way, her military service isn’t necessarily controversial considering the way things operate. But tensions between Lebanon and Israel have maintained, making Gal Gadot movies non-starters.
Though Death on the Nile is now banned in a couple of countries, for a while it wasn’t certain when anyone would be able to see the movie. Based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film had actually wrapped up shooting all the way back at the end of 2019. But while in post-production, the pandemic hit, and the timeline was thrown all the way off. The Gal Gadot flick faced numerous delays and rescheduling over the next couple of years. It finally was able to officially release on January 14th of this year.
And because it took so long for the Gal Gadot film to actually land in theaters, it’s looking like it will struggle to make back the production costs at the box office. Through the first month or so on the big screen, Death on the Nile has clawed to about $33 million dollars, well short of its reported $90 million budget. Critics have been lukewarm on it with the movie sitting at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In addition to Gal Gadot, Death on the Nile features something of an all-star cast with Branagh also starring along with Annette Benning, Russell Brand, Rose Leslie, Letitia Wright, and the embattled Armie Hammer also with roles.