Beauty and the Beast keeps original flavor on Chinese mainland

By Wei Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/17 12:10:47

A controversial gay moment has been kept in the Chinese mainland version of Disney's fantasy film Beauty and the Beast, as seen at its midnight premiere. The film comes with no parental guidance warning.

Opening on March 17, Beauty and the Beast collected 2.26 million yuan in revenue from its midnight showing on the Chinese mainland, according to box office data website cbooo.cn. 

The live-action remake of Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name recently attracted controversy due to the presumed homosexuality of one of its supporting characters, Le Fou (Josh Gad), due to the affection he shows for his master Gaston (Luke Evans) and the manner in which he dances with another male character at a ball. Director Bill Condon confirmed suspicions in a previous interview, describing the scene as a "nice, exclusively gay moment" and "a first" for a Disney film. 

Set for release in select Asian and European countries on March 16, Malaysia's film censorship board demanded the film remove the four-minute "gay moment" before entering the country's cinemas earlier this month. In response, Disney refused to censor the scene and decided to pull the film from Malaysian cinemas on Wednesday, a day ahead of its scheduled release. 

A Muslim-majority country, homosexual relations are illegal in Malaysia. The film was given a PG rating in neighboring Singapore "for 'some intense sequences' depicting moderate violence," according to mothership.sg. 

The film has also been given a 16+ age restriction in Russia, where the local government issued a federal law banning the use of "gay propaganda" targeted at minors in 2013.  

Though there is no law barring LGBT propaganda on the Chinese mainland, homosexuality remains a sensitive subject in the film and television industry. While a few famous gay-themed films, such as Lan Yu and Brokeback Mountain, can be seen on Chinese streaming websites, none were ever released in cinemas. 

According to a report from the Hangzhou Daily, Luo Jianhui, director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television's Internet video and audio programs management bureau, said at the 2016 Annual Meeting for Radio, Film and Television Production that "[gay topics] are not forbidden. The key point is to see whether the theme is to promote, advocate or beautify, and whether it is a necessary part of the story. There are distinctive differences."  



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