In the wake of the ban on Wonder Woman in Lebanon, Israelis are standing behind the Warner Bros. film and its star Gal Gadot.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Israeli insiders project Wonder Woman could earn $1.8 million over the four-day weekend, the strongest local debut in years for a Warner Bros. film. For comparison, 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $1.1 million in its first weekend of release in Israel.
Lebanon's Ministry of Economy & Trade announced late Tuesday that it had banned the release of Wonder Woman because Gadot is Israeli. A group that had lobbied for the ban cited the actress' (mandatory) military service, as well as her public support for the Israeli government's controversial policies in the Gaza Strip. Israel and Lebanon have been officially at war for 69 years, although a cease-fire has been in place since 2006. Lebanon has long boycotted Israeli products, and bars its citizens from traveling to Israel.
To the citizens of Israel, Gadot has become a local hero. The coverage of the film has been overwhelmingly positive, with many outlets even portraying the actress as an ambassador for the country. Taykey, a start-up company that tracks Israeli advertising, reported that Gadot mentions online have been 95 percent positive, and that the actress appears to be "unrivaled as the most loved Israeli in the world."
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman also stars Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Robin Wright as General Antiope, Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff, David Thewlis as Ares, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison and Lucy Davis as Etta Candy.