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Exclusive-Disney/Pixar's 'Lightyear,' with same-sex couple, will not play in 14 countries; China in question

Stock Markets Jun 14, 2022 01:22AM ET
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5/5 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Astronaut Tim Peake poses for pictures, as he arrives for the UK premiere of 'Lightyear' in London, Britain June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo 2/5

By Lisa Richwine and Dawn Chmielewski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Walt Disney Co has been unable to obtain permission to show its new Pixar movie "Lightyear" in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries, a source said on Monday, and the animated film appeared unlikely to open in China, the world's largest movie market.

A "Lightyear" producer told Reuters that authorities in China had asked for cuts to the movie, which Disney declined to make, and she assumed the movie would not open there either. The animated film depicts a same-sex couple who share a brief kiss, which prompted the United Arab Emirates to ban the film.

The United Arab Emirates said the couple's relationship violated the country's media content standards. Homosexuality is considered criminal in many Middle Eastern countries.

Representatives of other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Lebanon, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on why they would not allow the film to be exhibited.

"Lightyear" is a prequel to Pixar's acclaimed "Toy Story" franchise. Chris Evans voices the lead character, Buzz Lightyear, a legendary space ranger.

In the film, Buzz's close friend is a female space ranger who marries another woman. A scene showing milestones in the couple's relationship includes a brief kiss.

Disney has not received an answer from Chinese authorities on whether they would allow the film in cinemas, "Lightyear" producer Galyn Susman said. But she said filmmakers would not make changes to the movie. China has rejected other on-screen depictions of homosexuality in the past.

"We're not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he's missing by the choices that he's making, so that's not getting cut," Susman told Reuters at the movie's red-carpet premiere in London.

China is not a "make or break" market for Pixar, one theater industry source said. It contributed a mere 3% to the global box office for "Toy Story 4," which grossed more than $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales in 2019, according to Comscore.

Any objections to "Lightyear" over LGBTQ issues were "frustrating," Evans said.

"It's great that we are a part of something that's making steps forward in the social inclusion capacity, but it's frustrating that there are still places that aren't where they should be," Evans said.

"Lightyear" is set to debut in theaters in the United States and Canada on Friday.

In May, Disney refused requests to cut same-sex references in Marvel movie "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness." Saudi Arabia and a handful of other Middle Eastern countries did not show the film.

Exclusive-Disney/Pixar's 'Lightyear,' with same-sex couple, will not play in 14 countries; China in question
 

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Comments (4)
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jun 14, 2022 9:44AM ET
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Imagine being triggered by gay people ao much you need to ban a movie. How weak the fascist wing is.
Mark Manley
Mark Manley Jun 14, 2022 2:14AM ET
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Thousands of former disney fans have boycotted the company over their attempts at radical left wing social engineering of children and adolescents, we stand with them.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jun 14, 2022 2:14AM ET
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Wow you actually believe this stuff? The left wants to social engineer children? Havent the right been doing that for decades? Maybe look inside yourself before blaming anyone you can find.
Stephen Fa
Stephen Fa Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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Respect diverse cultures
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jun 13, 2022 5:37PM ET
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carlos guo you watch way too much tv, detatched from reality and delusional
Lucas AG
Lucas AG Jun 13, 2022 5:34PM ET
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Congratz to those countries, that´s it
 
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