Marvel’s “Eternals,” which features the first MCU gay superhero, has been banned in Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries ahead of its planned Nov. 11 rollout across the Gulf region.
Sources have confirmed that despite the film being publicized across the region on the websites of local multiplex chains, such as top local exhibitor Vox Cinemas, “Eternals” won’t be playing in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. However, tickets for the movie are currently available for purchase at Vox cinemas in the UAE.
Vox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In the Arab world, movies concerning or containing sex, homosexuality and religious issues are routinely cut to comply with censorship rules. But in this case, it appears that Disney was either unwilling or, more probably, unable to do that.
Director Chloé Zhao has said in several interviews that she expressed to Marvel her desire not to alter the film, which marks the first time a Marvel Studios movie has showcased a same-sex couple — and one of the only times any superhero movie has included a title LGBTQ character.
Zhao has said that gay superhero Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry), who is married with a child in the movie, was already an integral part of Marvel Studios’ conception of the character when she first began discussing the film with the studio.
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Eternals” opened on Wednesday in 14 international markets, including Korea, France, Germany and Italy. Thursday will see further openings in Australia, Brazil and Mexico as well as Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Portugal, Ukraine, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Argentina and all of the smaller Latin American territories.
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