Did you think that news of Bohemian Rhapsody would end with its four Academy Award wins? Well, fret not, because now the $800 million-plus grossing Queen biopic is headed to China, likely in an attempt to get it over that billion-dollar milestone.
However, if you know anything about China’s notoriously strict rules regarding the censorship of American films, you know that the release is not happening without a few changes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s limited March release will include “at least” a minute of cuts, “removing portrayals of drug use and several intimate kisses between [Rami] Malek’s Mercury and other male characters.”
As the Reporter article mentions, while some limited examples of homosexuality have been allowed in imported releases (Beauty and the Beast’s brief dance between two men, for example), many other depictions of homosexuality have been excised over the years, or led to films being banned from release outright.
Given that some of the film’s detractors have already taken issue with the film’s generally bashful portrayal of the extremely bisexual Freddie Mercury’s real life, it’s hard not to see the edits as even further erasure, yet another softening of a wild true story for the sake of appeasing more conservative audiences. Regardless, considering the seeming lack of concern so far about the optics of the movie, we’re sure its Chinese release this coming month could well see the world’s second biggest market for American films embracing one of last year’s biggest hits.