Bohemian Rhapsody has been greenlit for release in Chinese theaters — but it will be a heavily edited version.
The hit Freddie Mercury biopic will have its gay scenes completely edited out of the version being released for Chinese audiences. THR is additionally mentioning that even “several intimate kisses between Malek’s Mercury and other male characters” have been cut out.
There seems to be sort of a compromise between the film’s studio, 20th Century Fox, and the Chinese Film Bureau, the latter which has a history of banning movies that have any kind of gay themes or scenes in them.
If you remember, Chinese streaming site Mango TV cut off the phrase "gay man" from Rami Malek’s Oscar speech when he won the Best Actor Oscar. Malek was trying to honor young people struggling with their identity when he said “listen, we made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically himself,” but chinese censors replaced “gay man” with “special group.”
Screen grabs of the moment went viral on Chinese social media.
As mentioned, China is known to ban or censor gay-themed content in apprehensive ways. Last year, for example, they banned gay romance “Call Me by Your Name” from appearing at the Beijing International Film Festival. Gay-themed storytelling has also been banned from television for many years now, ditto online streaming content.