'Justice League' Banned in Lebanon

Adding to Justice League's box office struggles, the film has been banned in Lebanon (and could [...]

Adding to Justice League's box office struggles, the film has been banned in Lebanon (and could presumably be banned in some other Middle Eastern markets as well) due to the casting of Israeli actress Gal Gadot in a leading role.

Gadot, who plays the DC Films Universe's Wonder Woman, served in the Israeli military (as most adult Israeli citizens are expected to do) and has made comments in support of their controversial foreign policies in the past. Numerous countries refused to screen Wonder Woman as a result, but where Wonder Woman was a box office phenomenon that made such policies an oddity more than anything else, a persistent media narrative that Justice League is a financial failure is likely to be fed by the film losing potential screens around the world.

Lebanon is technically at war with Israel and has, for decades, had laws prohibiting traveling to or having contacts with Israelis.

Some films, once banned, may be released after cuts are made -- but if Lebanon were to ban Justice League due to Gadot's involvement it is not likely that any cut of the movie would clear the bar for approval, since Gadot is featured prominently throughout.

The decisions are made by the Lebanese Ministry of Economy, although interest groups like the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon tend to play a key role in pressuring political officials, or at least informing them of when movies have slipped through the ban.

Several Muslim-dominated countries in the Middle East have trade embargoes with Israel, and while Hollywood films from Israeli creative professionals are not always included in such bans -- for instance, both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice featured Israeli actors in prominent roles and were not banned. Gadot's Fast & Furious appearances have made their way to theaters in Lebanon as well.

At present, Justice League has earned around $175 million at the domestic box office -- almost $50 million less than Wonder Woman at the corollary point in its run and nearly $100 million less than where Batman v Superman was at the same time. The film has done somewhat better overseas and is sitting on over $485 million in earnings worldwide, but most analysts still assume that is pretty far south of what Warner Bros. was hoping for.

Justice League is in theaters now in most of the world.