Disney bosses have won their battle to release Beauty And The Beast in Malaysia without removing a “gay moment” from the film.
Studio executives pulled the film from release last week (end19Mar17) after officials at Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board demanded four minutes, including a minor gay scene featuring Josh Gad’s character LeFou, be cut.
Disney asked authorities in the Asian nation, where homosexuality is discouraged by religious leaders, to review their decision, an appeal which has been successful.
On Tuesday (21Mar17) the studio released a statement to Reuters which read, “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 PG-13 rating.”
The PG-13 rating means that children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult when watching the film.
Chiefs at the Asian nation’s biggest cinema chain, Golden Screen Cinemas, announced on Twitter they would screen the film from 30 March (17).
The uncut release of the film marks a major win for Disney, as over the weekend (18-19Mar17) the country’s film censors appeared to be maintaining their stance against the unedited version of the film.
Censorship board Chairman Abdul Halim told Malaysian newspaper New Sunday Times, “Malaysia does not recognize the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) ideology. So we have to be extra cautious in our work. We have our responsibilities to the country, the people and our constitution. If we let these scenes pass, people will wonder if Malaysia recognizes LGBT.”
The film, which stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the title characters, has also fallen foul of authorities in Russia, where it has received a 16+ rating, and in Kuwait, where an unedited version of the film was pulled just days after opening in cinemas.
The controversy in some countries does not seem to have harmed the film’s commercial prospects, as the movie made a mammoth $357.1 million around the world on its debut last weekend (17-19Mar17).