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'Lightyear,' a Disney/Pixar film starring a same-sex couple, will not be released in 14 countries, including China

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  According to a source, Walt Disney Co. was unable to acquire authorization to screen its new Pixar pict...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  According to a source, Walt Disney Co. was unable to acquire authorization to screen its new Pixar picture "Lightyear" in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian nations, and the animated feature was unlikely to launch in China, the world's largest movie market.

Authorities in China had requested cuts to the film, which Disney refused to make, and she assumed the film would not open there either, according to a "Lightyear" producer who spoke to Reuters. The animated video features a same-sex couple sharing a brief kiss, prompting a ban in the United Arab Emirates.

The couple's relationship, according to the UAE, breached the country's media content rules. In many Middle Eastern countries, homosexuality is considered a crime.

Other nations' representatives, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Lebanon, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on why they would not allow the video to be shown.

"Toy Story" prequel "Lightyear" is a prequel to Pixar's critically acclaimed "Toy Story" franchise. Buzz Lightyear, a famed space ranger, is portrayed by Chris Evans.

Buzz's close companion in the movie is a female space ranger who marries another lady. A quick kiss appears in a scenario depicting the couple's relationship milestones.

According to "Lightyear" producer Galyn Susman, Disney has not gotten a response from Chinese officials on whether the picture would be released in theatres. However, she stated that the film will not be altered by the filmmakers. In the past, China has rejected other on-screen depictions of homosexuality.

"We're not going to remove anything," Susman told Reuters at the film's red-carpet debut in London. "Especially something as significant as the beautiful and inspirational relationship that tells Buzz what he's missing by the decisions that he's making, so that's not getting chopped."

According to one theatre industry source, China is not a "make or break" market for Pixar. According to Comscore, it contributed only 3% to the global box office for "Toy Story 4," which generated more than $1 billion in international ticket sales in 2019.

Any criticism of "Lightyear" based on LGBTQ problems was "frustrating," according to Evans.

"It's fantastic that we're a part of something that's making progress in terms of social inclusion," Evans said, "but it's disappointing that there are still places where things aren't where they should be."

On Friday, "Lightyear" will be released in theatres across the United States and Canada.

Disney turned down requests to remove same-sex allusions from the Marvel film "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness" in May. The film was not shown in Saudi Arabia or a few other Middle Eastern countries.

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