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‘Eternals’ release scrapped in several Gulf countries

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Marvel’s “Eternals” has reportedly been banned from several Gulf countries after local censors pushed for changes to the film, including over its portrayal of a same-sex relationship.

The film will not be shown in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

The highly anticipated movie was set to release in the Gulf region on Nov. 11. It will no longer be distributed after local censors demanded certain edit requests that Disney apparently refused.

Disney did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

The reports noted that the decision to no longer play the film appeared to be tied at least in part to its inclusion of a same-sex couple and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first gay superhero.

In one scene, superhero character Phastos, played by Brian Tyree Henry, shares a kiss with his on-screen husband, Ben, played by Haaz Sleiman.

Distribution certificates for the movie weren’t issued in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, Deadline reported, adding censors in those countries sought cuts beyond the scenes of intimacy.

The outlet reported that in Kuwait and Qatar, the movie was blocked over the depiction of gods. It is considered blasphemous in the countries to depict gods and prophets on-screen.

The movie will release in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, but without any scenes of intimacy, whether homosexual or heterosexual, Deadline reported.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf countries and the ban follows previous cuts in the region for movies that depict scenes of intimacy and same-sex relationships. 

Forbes also reports that a same-sex kiss was cut from “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in the United Arab Emirates in 2019 and a heterosexual kiss between “Black Panther” actors Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o was cut as well.

“Eternals” Director Chloé Zhao has said in several interviews that she asked Marvel not to alter the film or make any cuts, according to Variety.

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