Navy SEALs made it into Pakistan but G.I. Joes won’t, now that censors have banned the latest Hollywood blockbuster for portraying Pakistan in a negative light.
The nation’s Central Board of Film Censors has officially banned “GI JOE 2: Retaliation,” the Bruce Willis movie currently atop the box office charts, saying the film is “anti-Pakistan.”
The film is a sequel to the 2009 blockbuster “GI JOE: Rise of Cobra,” and was scheduled to hit Pakistani theaters April 5. But now the government agency has prohibited the screening of the movie in any theater in Pakistan, going even farther than the unofficial ban imposed on “Zero Dark Thirty,” the 2012 film that portrayed the daring raid into Pakistan by SEAL Team Six to take out Usama bin Laden.
“The theme of the movie is controversial because it is portraying negative image of the country” Censor Board official Zareef Abbasi told FoxNews.com. “A notification has been issued to ban the screening of the film in the movie theatres across the country and all cinemas have been directed to stop screening of any trailers of the film.”
In the film, which also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Channing Tatum, the team of soldiers known as the G.I. Joes is framed for stealing nuclear warheads from Pakistan, then targeted for elimination by an imposter posing as the U.S. president.
Government critics in Pakistan claim the movie portrays the nation as soft on terror and also objected to a scene which shows the assassination of Pakistan’s president following imposition of martial law.
Distributors of the film, Footprint Entertainment Private Limited, could not be reached for comment.
The film, released on March 28, has reeled in more than $130 million from worldwide ticket sales.
Although the censor board did not officially ban “Zero Dark Thirty,” the critically-acclaimed movie based upon the Navy SEAL raid “Operation Neptune,” which led to the killing of Bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 1, 2011, the movie was not shown in Pakistan. Headlines in the country’s newspapers ridiculed the film as “Zero IQ Thirty” and “Very Zero, Very Dark” and Pakistani critics blasted the movie.
Video games like “Black OPS 2” and “Medal of Honor: War-Fighter” were banned and removed from store shelves earlier this year after content was found demeaning to the country. Pakistan has gone to the extent of banning communication devices, TV channels, certain clothing, books, rock bands, Facebook and Twitter for periods of time, and a Youtube ban remains in effect.
Pakistani security officials blame the west for demonizing the nation over the safeguarding of its nuclear weapons.
“We were expecting this from Hollywood because they have nothing to sell now,” said a Pakistani security official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are [portraying] Muslims as terrorists and waging a propaganda against our nukes.”