- Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" will be released in China next month.
- But the news has already raised concerns among fans that the movie will be censored for its LGBT content.
- Actor Rami Malek’s best-actor Oscars acceptance speech was censored in China.
On the heels of four Oscar wins on Sunday, including best actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" will finally be released in China.
The movie is scheduled for release in China on March 22, according to the Chinese entertainment social network Douban (via Variety). But the news has already raised concerns in the country that the movie’s LGBT content could be censored.
Fans immediately took to China’s most popular social-media platform, Weibo, to express their worries, pleading for Chinese censors to release the film as it was intended, according to Variety.
Malek’s Oscars acceptance speech was censored on Mango TV, one of the websites that live-streamed the telecast in China.
"We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically himself," Malek said. But "special group" replaced "gay man" in Mango’s subtitles, Variety reported.
Hollywood movies boost the Chinese box office
Chinese media regulators began limiting actors’ salaries last year, capping their pay at 40% of production costs. Lead actors can’t be paid more than 70% of total cast pay. The country’s biggest movie star, Fan Bingbing, also disappeared from the public eye for three months in 2018 after she was accused of tax evasion as part of a crackdown on secret contracts. She publicly apologized to the Chinese government in October.
In the midst of this crackdown, China approved more Hollywood movies for release in December in an effort to reach its box-office goal of $8.7 billion by the end of 2018. While box-office growth slowed to 9% compared to 13.5% growth in 2017, it still passed its goal and reached $8.87 billion.
This media climate could be a factor in why China has approved "Bohemian Rhapsody," a global box-office hit, for release. China is projected to pass the US as the world’s box-office leader within the next five years.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" fought off behind-the-scenes turmoil to gross $850 million worldwide and win four Oscars, including actor, film editing, sound editing, and sound mixing. The movie’s credited director, Bryan Singer, was fired late into production by the studio Fox for repeatedly being absent from the set. Singer is also facing allegations of sexual misconduct with underage boys, which he has denied.
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