CHINA: Bohemian Rhapsody Gets Surprise Release Approval But Censors Will Still Cut Gay Kissing Scenes

From the Hollywood Reporter:

20th Century Fox’s smash hit Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody received permission Wednesday to open theatrically in China. The decision came as something of a surprise to the country’s local film industry given Beijing’s past repressive stance on content featuring gay characters.

At the same time that news of Bohemian Rhapsody’s release clearance was circulating through China’s film industry, outcry over a local streaming company’s censorship of the words “gay man” from Rami Malek’s Oscars acceptance speech was raging on social media.

Bohemian Rhapsody‘s approval in China indeed comes with some caveats. Sources also tell THR that at least one minute of cuts will be made to the film, removing portrayals of drug use and several intimate kisses between Malek’s Mercury and other male characters.

NBC News reports:

Homosexuality is not illegal in China. But the country, home to the second-largest theatrical box office behind the United States, frequently cracks down on LGBTQ content in both homegrown and imported movies. The content of films is regulated by the ruling Communist Party’s propaganda department.

“Call Me By Your Name,” the English-language art-house film about a gay romance, was pulled from the Beijing International Film Festival last year, and the 2005 queer landmark “Brokeback Mountain” was denied a release altogether.

American-produced blockbusters are sometimes altered to remove scenes or imagery deemed offensive. “Alien: Covenant,” Ridley Scott’s 2017 sci-fi thriller, was released in China without a scene in which Michael Fassbender kisses his clone.