The live-action remake of the animated classic was originally scheduled for release in Malaysia on Thursday. But the film has vanished from local movie listings, and theater chain Golden Screen Cinemas said on its website that the film “has been postponed by Disney until further notice.”
Contacted by Variety, Disney spokesmen in Asia offered no comment.
Malaysian news site The Star Online quoted Disney’s Malaysian arm as saying that release had been put off pending an “internal review.” Disney’s official Malaysian website still lists “Beauty and the Beast” as “coming soon.”
The yanking of the film came after Malaysia’s film censorship board excised a scene in which the sexuality of sidekick character LeFou, played by actor Josh Gad (pictured), is made clear.
“We have approved [the movie], but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene, but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie,” board chairman Abdul Halim told The Associated Press.
Halim said he did not know why the release had been shelved.
Gay sex is still punishable by law, including imprisonment, in socially conservative Malaysia. Gay characters are allowed to be shown in movies, but only if they are portrayed negatively or as repentant.
The inclusion of a gay character in “Beauty and the Beast” has also caused a stir in Russia, which has slapped a 16+ rating on the movie, restricting viewing to moviegoers aged 16 and up.
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