The “Bohemian Rhapsody” audiences will watch in China will be drastically different than the version playing in North America.
The Queen biopic starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury is a whole other beast in the East. “Bohemian Rhapsody” opened in China on Friday but with all the LGBTQ+ scenes removed.
There was speculation as to whether “Bohemian Rhapsody” would premiere in China at all. Homosexuality has been legal for more than two decades but Chinese censors banned “abnormal sexual behaviour,” including same-sex relationships, shown in films and TV in 2016.
This version of the Oscar-winning film reportedly cut all uses of the word “gay” and removed a scene featuring the characters in drag recreating the “I Want To Break Free” music video. According to CNN, it also removed all interactions between Mercury and his long-term partner Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker).
Fox has not publicly addressed the situation but people are split over the scenes’ omission from the Chinese version. Some consider it a victory the film was permitted to screen in China at all, while others see it as a slap in the face of LGBTQ+ people across the world.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” rolled out in theatres in November and was a critical and commercial darling. It earned four Oscars, including Best Actor, and was nominated for Best Picture.