Eternals will feature the first gay superhero and the first portrayal of a same-sex couple in the MCU. It is certainly groundbreaking in the franchise. But, unfortunately, it costs an opportunity to be released in three countries in the Middle East.
The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Eternals will not be showing in cinemas in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. According to what they've heard, the film was met with a series of edit requests by the local censors, but Disney refused to do it. It is suggested that it's all because of the film's inclusion of a same-sex couple and a gay superhero since homosexuality is still officially illegal across the Gulf region. Local censors in those countries usually ban LGBT-themed films.
It is unknown as of this time if the film will still be showing in other Middle East countries such as the United Arab Emirates which is still listed as "coming soon." This wouldn't be the first time that a Disney film got banned in Middle East countries. Last year, Onward was banned in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia due to a line that referenced a lesbian relationship.
It is unfortunate to hear that that film is banned in those countries, but it is not surprising as well given the laws and culture in the region. Kudos to Disney for sticking up with their filmmakers and not answering the demands of the local censors. It will cost them business-wise since they are going to lose their opportunity to get the box office from those territories, but it also shows that they are willing to stand with their creators.
Despite the mixed reviews from critics, there's still a lot of hype for the film since it will feature a new set of superheroes in the MCU and will expand the lore as we've never seen the franchise do.
Also Read: Eternals Star Richard Madden Says the MCU Should 'Normalize' Sex Scenes
Eternals is set to be released in theaters this coming Friday.