Beauty & The Beast has been pulled from cinemas in Kuwait over the film’s content.
The Disney movie opened in the predominantly Muslim country on Thursday (16Mar17) and was playing to packed theatres over the weekend (17-19Mar17), but those hoping to see the film on Monday (20Mar17) were told screenings had been cancelled due to “unforeseen difficulties”.
Duaij Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, a board member at the National Cinema Company – which operates all but two of the cinemas in Kuwait, has told the Associated Press a new version of the movie may be back in theatres later this week.
“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,” Mr Al-Sabah said.
It appears Josh Gad’s portrayal of LeFou – Disney’s first openly-gay character – was at the centre of the controversy in Kuwait.
The character, who is the sidekick to villain Gaston, is “confused about his sexuality”, according to director Bill Condon, who also described a brief scene as a “gay moment”.
Last week, Disney bosses shelved the release of the film in Malaysia after refusing to cut a scene featuring LeFou to appease censors, and film officials in Russia have slapped a 16+ rating on the movie in a bid to prevent children under the age of 16 from watching it.
The Disney film debuted atop the North American box office with a record-breaking $170 million gross over the weekend. The live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the fairytale couple, enchanted moviegoers upon its release on Friday (17Mar17), setting a new record as the highest-grossing debut weekend for a PG-rated film since last year’s (16) Finding Dory amassed $135 million.
It is also the new record holder for the biggest March opening, beating superhero movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s $166 million haul a year ago (Mar16).