Seeing double? Or is that more? Our head(s) hurt already!
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia and Disney refused to edit it due to concerns over LGBTQ+ content in the region.
In the movie, one of the prominent characters is America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez) who is a gay in the comics and is something that is expected, nay REQUIRED to be carried over onto the big screen.
Of course Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness isn’t the only MCU movie to recently get banned from various homophobic countries, the same happened with The Eternals just last year but whereas that was almost a brand new IP for the MCU, this is a mainline story.
Person of interest: America Chavez in Dr Strange 2 (played by Xochitl Gomez)
Not only can you no longer purchase pre-order tickets for the film in Saudi Arabia, but also Kuwait and Qatar. These, of course, are regions in which homosexuality is illegal. Many films which include even references to LGBTQ+ characters, lives, issues or themes are subject to censorship or are just completely denied a release.
Meanwhile, the latest entry into the Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, has been edited for the Chinese market with any mention of Dumbledore and Grindewald’s gay relationship removed. All this while people seem to be voting with their feet and staying away in droves.
While it only amounts to a 6 second difference, people are furious with Warner Bros for succumbing to the editing out of positive representation of a queer relationship in China. This isn’t the first time this has happened and won’t be the last.
Magic didn't have for Fantastic Beasts 3
Of course this will affect box office sales as Rowling decimates her own legacy with fans of the series deciding whether or not they even want to buy into it anymore. Add to this the fact that the reviews have been middling, the ongoing pandemic and the numbers aren’t great, only making $58million internationally so far when the first one made three times that.
The movie came out on April 15 in the US, it’s biggest market, so it will be interesting to see what impact this has all had on the overall box office numbers. The fourth film in the franchise currently has no script and is not even greenlit by Warner Bros, who will be watching very closely, even if JK Rowling isn’t.