New Doctor Strange Film Banned In Saudi Arabia Before Release
The highly-anticipated Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia before its release, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange sequel, which will see Benedict Cumberbatch reprise his role as the titular superhero, is set to drop in theatres this May.
However, rumours started circulating earlier today, April 22, that Saudi Arabia might ban the film from airing in its country.
Middle East sources have since confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the ban may also apply to Kuwait, although this is yet to be verified.
The sources said the decision is again said to be due to LGBTQ+ issues, which isn’t the first time this has happened with Marvel and Disney movies.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that America Chavez, also known as Miss America, is set to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
As a lesbian, the character – who is set to be portrayed by Xochitl Gomez in the film – is Marvel's first Latin-American LGBTQ+ character to star in an ongoing series.
Although the flick was set to be released across the Gulf in May, since the ruling, advanced tickets are no longer available to buy from theatre websites in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
The outlet went on to point out that they are still on sale in the United Arab Emirates, hinting that the movie may still be released there.
Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives only in theaters May 6. pic.twitter.com/tioKf11win— Doctor Strange (@DrStrange) December 22, 2021
Same-sex sexual activity between men and between women, and the gender expression of trans people, is still criminalised across the Gulf.
It is still officially illegal to be homosexual in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and subsequently many films that feature LGBTQ+ issues have been previously pulled from release.
Last year, Angelina Jolie called out the apparent banning of Eternals’ gay kissing scene in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
Local censors from the countries allegedly requested that Disney make edits to the film, but upon the studio’s refusal, they decided to pull the Marvel film from release completely.
Kudos to Eternals for giving Marvel not only their first sex scene but gay couple too.— Matthew Espinosa (@MattSE0486) November 5, 2021
The star told News.com.au that she is ‘proud’ of Marvel for refusing to cut those scenes out, stating: "I still don’t understand how we live in a world today where there’s still [people who] would not see the family Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love.
"How anybody is angry about it, threatened by it, doesn’t approve or appreciate it is ignorant."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]
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