Gulf countries ban 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'
Marvel Cinematic Universe is gearing up for the release of its highly exciting venture, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But not everyone will be able to witness the magic unfold on the screen. This is because multiple Gulf countries have banned the release of the film and the reasons, once again, seem to stem from the presence of LGBTQ+ characters.
Why does this story matter?
The Multiverse of Madness just became the latest Hollywood project to get censored or banned in certain Gulf regions for featuring gay characters or same-sex relationships. Before this, Gulf nations banned Marvel's Eternals for the same reason. Later, an edited version had come out in the United Arab Emirates. Similar fates have greeted West Side Story or more recently, Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore.
For now, it's banned in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar
Although reports were doing the rounds for a while now, the final nail came on Friday when The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Saudi Arabia won't be screening the Doctor Strange sequel. The report added that this ban is most likely applicable in Kuwait and Qatar as well. Thereafter, the news of Egypt following suit surfaced, as first reported by the Egyptian Streets outlet.
IMAX Egypt confirmed the news too
At center of ban is gay character America Chavez
The film is yet to release or get reviews, but it's being said the ban came because of a character called America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez). Chavez, as per the comics, is gay. Usually, Gulf nations as well as several other regions like China mandate cuts to edit out any gay scenes/dialogs. But some characters are too crucial to cut out (like Chavez).
Chavez will be crucial to Strange in solving multiverse puzzle
Speaking about the importance of Chavez in the film, director Sam Raimi said Strange will get much-needed guidance on how the multiverse works from the reality-jumping young hero. "Strange is still learning about the Multiverse. And here's a character [Chavez] that can actually travel through it. He's such a know-it-all all the time, and to have to learn from a kid probably smarts."
Meanwhile, CBFC has given film U/A rating
Meanwhile, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has granted a U/A certificate to the Marvel film in India. Notably, there have been no audio/visual cuts suggested for the two hours and six minutes long movie. Bookings are currently open before its May 6 release.