Walt Disney Co has decided to indefinitely remove Beauty and the Beast from theaters in Malaysia rather than cut scenes involving a gay character. Local authorities had objected to the film’s content and was subsequently recut by Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board. Board chairman Abdul Halim told the AP: “We have approved [the movie], but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene, but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie.”
“The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” Disney said in a public statement.
Golden Screen Cinemas, Malaysia’s largest theater chain, said Monday it was postponing showings of Beauty and the Beast at the studio’s request. Golden Screen will offer refunds to anyone who purchased advance tickets to screenings, the company said on its website. Malaysia has laws against homosexuality.
Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board approved Beauty and the Beast for a P13 rating after requesting cuts of about 4 1/2 minutes from a scene with the so-called “gay moment”. Theaters can screen the film at any time once the deletions have been implemented. A P13 rating requires patrons below the age of 13 to be accompanied by a guardian.
Beauty and the Beast, opening on March 17, could take in as much as $120 million its first weekend; the movie cost about $160 million to make. It is a remake of the 1991 animated musical and includes a so-called “exclusively gay moment”. The character LeFou, the sidekick Gaston, makes overt references to his affection for Gaston and later dances with a man at a ball.
Russia has approved the release of Beauty and the Beast with a suggested audience 16 years and older. Children younger than that can attend with an adult.