It’s official. The steamy romance Fifty Shades Of Grey, which is dominating the US box-office this week, will not release in the UAE. Countries such as Kenya, Indonesia and Malaysia have already banned the film, making this region the latest country to follow suit.
The National Media Council, the UAE body tasked with approving films in the UAE, on Monday told tabloid! that the decision to withhold the release was taken after some serious deliberation during the review screening.
“We already saw the movie and the company which imported the film decided from their side that this movie cannot be made into a montage because it contains many sex scenes,” said Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the NMC.
“After discussing with us, it was decided not to pass it in the UAE ... There’s many [sex] scenes — around 35 minutes ... We also respect those who see the movie and if there are many cuts, it’s not good to watch,” he added.
In the past, UAE audiences have expressed disappointment with censorship of much-anticipated films such as The Wolf Of Wall Street. But censorship or not, the film based on the erotic novel by E. L. James and directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, is proving to be triumphant at the US box-office with an $81.7 million (Dh300 million) opening through Sunday.
According to reports, the risque drama starring Jamie Dornan as kinky billionaire Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as his lover Anastasia Steele and with its liberal dose of nudity and sex, is poised to be the second-biggest February debut after the record set by The Passion Of Christ in 2004. Despite cold reviews from critics, Fifty Shades opened at No 1 in 55 foreign markets where it was released and has so far raked in a total of $158 million.