“Beauty and the Beast”, the live-action remake of 1991’s magical animated classic of the same name, has been one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. Originally slated for release on 16th March (Thursday), the movie has now been indefinitely postponed.
The Walt Disney Company (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. shot out an e-mail to media outlets today (Monday, 13th March) saying, “We would like to inform you that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opening date in Malaysia will be postponed due to internal review of release date.” The film distributor also sent a new “Beauty and the Beast” poster along with the e-mail, which has been revised to say “Coming Soon” instead of the original 16th March premiere date.
However, the rep did not elaborate if the review was due to the ongoing gay controversy.
According to CNN, citing “Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon, the character LeFou (sidekick to the villainous Gaston) has an “exclusively gay moment” in the PG-rated movie. LeFou is also said to be secretly smitten by Gaston. Actor Josh Gad who plays LeFou, explained that at the end of the film, LeFou dances with another man – a moment that Josh called “subtle but incredibly effective”.
So far, the Henagar Drive-In Theatre in Alabama, United States has banned the movie from its screens because of the controversy and Russia has imposed a 16+ restriction on the film.
As at time of writing, there’s no knowing if the film will be shown in Malaysia at all. But like everyone else, we hope we’ll have the opportunity to watch it!
Fingers crossed, peeps.
UPDATE (14th March):
Disney lovers can collectively heave a huge sigh of relief as the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) has given the green light for “Beauty and the Beast” to be shown in Malaysian cinemas, but with a minor edit.
The news comes after Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was quoted as saying a ban on movies based on a character or scene is ridiculous.
“All these years, even without the homosexual character in the Beauty and the Beast, there have been homosexual people in the world. I don’t think it is going to influence anyone. We need to think, we must allow people to decide for themselves. There are stories about murder and by law that is wrong, but do you ban it in a film? Where do you draw the line?” he said.
On approving the Disney live-action film, The Star Online quoted LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid as saying that the film has been approved “for quite some time” with a P13 parental guidance classification, with a minor cut. The minor cut concerned a “gay moment” in the film.
However, the film’s release date is not within his jurisdiction as it is up to the film’s distributor and cinema operators.
Hang in there while we wait for updates from The Walt Disney Company (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. on the new release date for “Beauty and the Beast”!
UPDATE (17th March):
The “Beauty and the Beast” saga continues. Disney’s live-action remake of the 1991 magical classic animated flick was originally supposed to premiere in Malaysia yesterday (Thursday, 16th March). Unfortunately, fans have not heard a peep from The Walt Disney Company (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. despite rumours of Disney shelving the film altogether.
However, according to the latest news update, The Walt Disney Company (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. has lodged an appeal with the Home Ministry to overturn LPF’s decision to cut the “gay moment” in the film. Alas, LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said that despite the appeal, LPF “stands by its decision to cut a scene from the film”.
Previously, it was reported that LPF had requested cuts of about 4 1/2 minutes from a subplot with a “gay moment”. The “gay moment” scene, Abdul Hamid explained, concerns a song featuring LeFou. “The way he dances is… gay and the dialogue and the lyrics of the song are too. In the same scene he also lifts up his shirt and shows a love bite on his tummy,” he said.
“Movie companies cannot impose conditions on LPF. We will not budge,” Abdul Hamid added.
Will “Beauty and the Beast” ever see the light of day in Malaysia? Your guess is as good as ours.
Directed by Bill Condon and written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, “Beauty and the Beast” features an ensemble cast that includes Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson.
UPDATE (21st March):
We have good news for you!
The release date of “Beauty and the Beast” in Malaysia has officially been postponed to 30th March. GSC Cinemas has confirmed in a Facebook post that the movie will be screened without cuts and is rated PG13.
Go get your tickets now, peeps 😉