Kuwait National Cinema Company has pulled out Disney’s hit movie Beauty and the Beast from theatres, citing its responsibilities and duties towards young viewers.
The company started screening the movie on Thursday, but reports said that people who bought tickets for the Monday shows were alerted via short messages that the film would not be screened due to unexpected developments.
“Dear customers: The movie Beauty and the Beast has been suspended pending its review. We regret any inconvenience. We will refund your bookings,” the company posted on Monday on its Twitter account.
The movie was taken off the listings on the company’s website and no details were mentioned about whether it would be screened again following the review and the possible deletion of controversial scenes.
The site showed that Beauty and the Beast was top of the list of movies, followed by Kong: Skull Island and Sleepless.
The withdrawal of the movie in Kuwait is likely to have been decided in line with a ban in Malaysia and restrictions on the age of viewers in Russia.
However, the movie is showing in the UAE. For Gulf News tabloid!’s review, click here.
The movie starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston is a remake of Disney’s classic animated feature.
However, the movie waded into controversy after its director, Bill Condon, told a British magazine that a supporting character, LeFou, played by Josh Gad, has “a nice, exclusively gay moment.”
In the movie, LeFou is portrayed as a man with a crush on Gaston and in one three-second scene he is shown dancing with another man.
The gay allusions and scene caused the movie to be banned in a drive-in movie theatre in rural northeastern Alabama.
According to the New York Times, the theatre said that it would not show Disney’s new version of Beauty and the Beast because it had a gay character.
“We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches,” the Henagar Drive-In said in a Facebook post.
“You can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”
In Russia, Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker, asked the culture minister to check the movie for its homosexual propaganda and called for banning it.
“In this situation, society cannot look on silently at what movie distributors are offering under the guise of a children’s tale — the obvious, barefaced, unscrupulous propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relations,” Milonov said.
The film is now not suitable for children under 16 years of age in Russia.
In spite of the controversies, Beauty and the Beast has become an even bigger hit than first thought.
The film’s weekend box-office earnings were revised up nearly $5 million (Dh18 million) from estimates on Sunday. In final figures on Monday, Disney said the film made $174.8 million in North American theatres.
The result set numerous records. The film is not only easily the biggest hit of 2017 so far, it’s the biggest opening for a PG-rated movie, the top debut ever in March and ranks among the top-10 openings ever, not adjusting for inflation.
Analysts expect the film to make $1 billion globally.
— With input from agencies