Marvel’s Eternals will not hit cinema screens in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Qatar, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The all-star superhero film, which was due for release across the Gulf region on Nov. 11, is understood to have been met with a series of edit requests by local censors, edits that THR has heard Disney was not willing to make.
The news emerged on Thursday, with Eternals having quietly been removed from websites in each of those countries. In the United Arab Emirates, however, the film is still listed as among the titles coming soon.
Sources suggest the decision was likely made over the inclusion of a same-gender couple in the film and the MCU’s first gay superhero. In one scene, the character, Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry), and his on-screen husband, Ben (Haaz Sleiman), share a kiss.
Homosexuality is still officially illegal across the Gulf, and films containing anything related to LGBTQ issues are frequently pulled from release. Last year, the Pixar title Onward was banned across Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over a single line referencing a lesbian relationship.
One regional cinema chain explained that Eternals had been “banned” but said they hadn’t been told why.
Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals stars an ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie. Part of Phase Four of the MCU, it is due for release on Nov. 5 following its world premiere on Oct. 18 in L.A.