Cinemas cancelled the screening of Beauty and the Beast, with the reason described as "unforeseen circumstances".
Disney’s latest film Beauty and The Beast faces a ban in Kuwait’s cinemas. It previously had complications with Malaysia’s film boards too. This has all resulted from the pivotal “gay content” that features in the romantic drama.
Beauty and the Beast became the latest film released in a series of reinvented Disney classics. Many expect it to become as successful as previous films such as Cinderella and The Jungle Book.
In the UK, Beauty and the Beast raked in £18.4 million after its opening weekend.
However, while the film released in Kuwait on 16th March 2016, the country’s film board changed its mind. On 20th March 2017, those who already purchased tickets received a strange text message from cinemas.
The text revealed that cinemas cancelled the film screening of Beauty and the Beast, with the reason described as “unforeseen circumstances”.
But now, board member of the National Cinema Company, Duaij Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah confirmed the ban. He said:
“We were requested to stop the screening and further censor the movie for things that were deemed offensive by the Ministry of Information’s censorship department.”
The “offensive” content in question seem to involve the character LeFou, who is part of a key storyline in Disney’s history. Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon describes LeFou as “confused about his sexuality” leading towards a brief “gay moment”.
However, while Al-Sabah confirmed the complications with the film, he suggested that the film may return to cinemas. But as a newly edited version of itself, presumably without the gay storyline.
But it’s not just Kuwait where the film has landed in hot water. Reportedly, disputes between Disney and Malaysia’s film board arose over removing scenes involving the gay storyline.
Disney refused to perform the edits, and so scrapped the film entirely in Malaysia.
While countries have accepted homosexuality, others such as Malaysia and Kuwait still look upon it as taboo.
However, surprising new reports emerge saying that the Malaysian film board will now release the film without any cuts. The news appeared as local Malaysian cinemas tweeted the announcement.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST CONFIRMED FOR 30 MARCH WITHOUT CUTS. RT this and get excited! #BeOurGuest
— GoldenScreenCinemas (@GSCinemas) March 21, 2017
Disney also released a statement saying:
“We are pleased to announce that Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has now been approved to be released in Malaysia with no cuts, with a PG13 rating.”
However, it’s hard to predict whether the Kuwaiti film board will follow a similar path.