MOVIE NEWS – Disney has refused to remove parts of the plot that conflicted with the region’s censorship authorities.
Marvel’s Eternals was to be released on November 11 in theatres in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and other nations in the Persian Gulf region. Still, censors in three of those countries asked Disney Movies, the distributor, to edit out certain scenes as a condition of the screenings.
When Disney refused, the result was that Eternals was removed from the websites where it was advertised. So far it is known that Emirates is keeping it on the list of upcoming releases and that tickets are available for pre-sale. Vox Cinemas, the largest exhibitor in the region, has not commented on the issue.
The censorship is presumed to be due to a non-explicit sexual scene and scenes of a same-sex couple. One of them is the Marvel Universe’s first homosexual superhero, played by Brian Tyree Henry. In the film, he and another actor share a kiss.
Homosexuality is still illegal in some Gulf countries, and films with LGBTQ+ representation are often removed. In 2017 Tunisia banned Wonder Woman because its leading lady, Gal Gadot, is Israeli, and in 2020, Saudi Arabia did the same to Pixar’s Onward for a commentary referencing a lesbian relationship.
Actress Angelina Jolie has criticized the “ignorant” people who caused the film to be banned. “I’m sad,” she said in reference to the audience who will not be able to see the movie, but “proud” that Marvel refused to remove those seconds from the film.
The film has been banned in Kuwait and Qatar because its plot, which portrays a family of superheroes sent by the gods, is considered sinful. In other territories, such as Lebanon and Egypt, Eternals will be released but with an intimate, homosexual or heterosexual scenes suppressed, a common practice for Hollywood studios in some countries. Eternals is already in theatres in Ecuador.
The film features ten characters never before seen in the MCU and has an epic scope in terms of temporality: the story spans more than 7,000 years on Earth and in space, with constant jumps between the past, present and future.