‘Bros’ will skip Middle East release due to gay sex scenes

Director Billy Eichner’s “Bros” will make history immediately upon its release as the first gay R-com rom ever produced by a major studio, but that historical record certainly won’t include the Middle East.

The global film, which hits the US box office on September 30, is scheduled for release in most international markets in October and November, but is preemptively skipping any kind of release in Middle Eastern markets for cultural and commercial reasons, sources close to the studio say. diverse.

It remains unclear exactly what markets will be affected in the region, but it likely includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Kuwait – all of which are notorious for censoring movies even at the slightest hint of LGBTQ themes or content.

And as anyone who’s seen “Bros” will tell you, the movie is – to its credit – anything but subtle in its depiction of gay romance and sex, which has been censored or watered down by Hollywood.

Eichner plays Bobby, a clever podcast and museum director, still committed to staying celibate in the complex and modern world of dating. That is, until he meets Luke Macfarlane’s Aaron, a buff lawyer who is the complete opposite of Bobby – but changes everything for him.

Like any rom-com, the two enjoy their cute meeting (this time at a gay dance club) that turns into a romance, which includes a number of explicit sex scenes. Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Neighbours”) is directing the film which also features Bowen Yang, Jim Rush, Dot Marie Jones, Harvey Fierstein, and many more celebrities.

The film received a lively reception at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, with Eichner and Macfarlane speaking about the broader importance of “Bros” and what the film will represent for the LGBTQ community.

Hollywood has had a difficult record of opening films with LGBTQ characters or content in the Middle East. Recently, Disney’s “Lightyear” missed a showing in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, among other regions in the Middle East, due to the inclusion of a same-sex kiss in the movie “Toy Story.”

The scene featured a new space ranger character named Alisha and her partner in making a family together and greeting each other with a kiss on the lips. It was originally cut from the movie by Disney, but was later reinstated when the animators from Pixar spoke out against Disney in an open letter he obtained diversesaying that Disney requested the cuts, and censored “public affection for gays”.

The sources said diverse At the time, “Lightyear”, which was released in the United States on June 17, was not submitted to censorship in Saudi Arabia, knowing that it will not pass. However, the film was initially approved to be shown in the United Arab Emirates, where censorship restrictions were relaxed. However, in a major setback, the license to show the film in the UAE was abruptly revoked following calls on social media accusing Disney and Lightyear of insulting Muslims and Islam.

As for “Bros,” apart from its specific cultural connotations, the best titles to compare are other rom-coms like “The Lost City” and “Ticket to Paradise,” which opened internationally with “minimum presence” in movie theaters in Middle East, notes Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro, who noted that “The Lost City” generated less than 2% of the global box office from Middle Eastern regions. (Paramount’s release totaled $190 million worldwide.)

Robbins notes that excluding the Middle East markets will not affect the box office changes abroad. “These and a number of previous examples of the pandemic underscore the relatively low impact of most markets in that part of the world on a film of this size,” he adds.

Comedies generally tend to rely more on a domestic share of revenue, and in fact, it is very likely that [Universal] He took into account the expectation that this film would not be released in certain markets when budgeting for production and distribution.”



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