Moonlight release in China under threat over 'gay themes'

Ben Arnold
Moonlight… may not get its release in China – Credit: A24
Moonlight… may not get its release in China – Credit: A24

Oscar-winner ‘Moonlight’s release in China could be axed over the film’s ‘gay themes’, according to reports.

It’s thought that Barry Jenkins’ movie will likely fall foul of strict Chinese censorship after it was bought up by the country’s equivalent of Netflix.

Iqiyi grabbed the streaming rights for the movie, but it has yet to be passed for release.

“Sources tell THR that the Moonlight acquisition was made without prior censorship clearance and iQiyi’s online release plans remain uncertain,” reported The Hollywood Reporter.

A24, the producers behind the movie, are still trying to get the movie a theatrical release too, but considering China’s reaction to other recent films with merely hints of homosexuality – which is not allowed to be shown either in Chinese cinemas or on TV – it’s unlikely.

(Credit: Disney)
(Credit: Disney)

Chinese director and activist Fan Popo told THR: “So many international films are ‘a little bit gay’ these days, if the censors insisted on blocking all of it, one day soon there wouldn’t be American film showing in China.”

Another source added: “They think ‘Moonlight’ is unsuitable for the China market and not politically correct.”

However, he adds that while a release of ‘Moonlight’ in China would be ‘great news’, he’s not optimistic about its chances.

“It would also be good news for the whole Chinese movie audience. ‘Moonlight’ is a beautiful and thoughtful film,” he said.

However, there are some signs of movement.

It recently released ‘Beauty and the Beast’, complete with its much discussed ‘gay moment’, without any censorship.

Controversy has surrounded the ‘moment’, which has resulted in a PG-13 type rating in both Russia and Malaysia.

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