Disney and the Marvel Comic Universe have fallen foul of Gulf censors once more.
In the Multiverse of Madness, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange has been banned in Saudi Arabia. On Friday, Rumors began emerging online early, with The Hollywood Reporter now officially confirming the decision. The Hollywood Reporter has heard that the ban also applies to Kuwait, although this has not yet been verified.
According to Middle East sources, While the film is yet to be released and also has not yet been reviewed, the decision is once again said to be related to LGBTQ issues, with the new sequel introducing the character America Chavez who, as per her portrayal in the comics, is gay. With homosexuality officially illegal across the Gulf, films featuring LGBTQ references or issues often fail to get past censors.
On May 5, Doctor Strange was due to be released across the Gulf as part of its global rollout. While advanced tickets are no longer available on the cinemas’ websites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, they are in the United Arab Emirates, suggesting they will be released there.
In January, West Side Story was also stopped from hitting cinemas in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. This time, regional sources told The Hollywood Reporter the decision was due to the character Anybodys, written as transgender in the new adaptation.