Surprisingly, the foot-stomping musical biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, will be released in Chinese theaters, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This announcement comes unexpectedly since Beijing has censored media that pertains to homosexuality. Rami Malek, who won Best Actor at the Oscars, had his acceptance speech censored by a Chinese streaming service since it featured the phrase “gay man.”
Although there is no official release date set, The Hollywood Reporter learned from an individual at China Film Group that the film will be released in mid-March. This seemingly radical move for the country comes with a few catches. Drug use and intimate moments between characters will be omitted from the film. National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas, which is run by the China Film Archives and has access to 1,200 out of the 50,000 screens in China, will be releasing the movie but the film will only be playing in a limited amount of theaters. This appears to be done as a compromise with China’s Film Bureau.
China has had an ambivalent history with controversial films and censorship. Brokeback Mountain was not allowed to be shown in the country, as well as the scene in Fox’s Alien Covenant when Michael Fassbender kisses himself. The brief homosexual relationship between Gaston’s companion and another man in Beauty and the Beast, however, was still shown in China’s theaters.