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At The Movies

Bohemian Rhapsody Opens In China, All References to Freddie Mercury's Sexuality Removed

Posted by on March 25, 2019 at 3:36 pm

The Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, was, by all accounts a smashing success. While it may not have gotten the most favorable reviews, fans ate it up. Box Office Mojo reports that as of this writing, it has grossed over $215 million. The film won multiple Golden Globes and actor Rami Malek won the Best Leading Actor Oscar for his portrayal of frontman Freddie Mercury.

So the folks at 20th Century Fox, that made the movie, wanted to get it into the biggest market – China. Except, China has very strict censorship rules when it comes to showing any sort of "deviant" sexuality. With most of the movie focusing on Freddy's personal sexual awakening, I was curious how that would be dealt with. The producers did a good job of hiding the gayness in the original trailers, to the point of fan backlash. Now, the BBC reports that any and all references to Mercury's sexuality were edited out completely.

Not just explicit references, any implicit references as well. There is a scene where Freddy comes out as gay to his girlfriend that did not make the cut. Any scene or reference to his male partner Jim Hutton, are edited out. The making of the band's 1984 single "I Want to Break Free" which sees the band dress in drag was edited out, as were any gratuitous crotch shots in live performances.

BBC tracked reviews of Chinese moviegoers on social media app Weibo and say 80% of the feedback from Chinese fans was positive, with most happy the movie was able to screen in the country at all.

When Rami Malek accepted the Oscar for Best Actor he noted ” “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself.” It's a shame the movie chose to apologize for him.

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