The anticipated robust overseas box office of Disney/Marvel’s Eternals, which posted a first day of $7.6M, will definitely not have Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman in its future release plans.
Eternals was originally scheduled to open in the region on Nov. 11.
While official reasons weren’t provided by either the studio or the local territories, here’s our understanding of what went down:
In Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, the censors were seeking further cuts beyond any scenes of intimacy and that Disney opted not to make the edits, hence distribution certificates weren’t issued.
Meanwhile in Kuwait and Qatar, the Chloe Zhao-directed super-gods movie was blocked. The issue, we hear, may not solely be the same-sex kiss, but rather that overall these markets have historically had a problem with the depiction of gods and prophets, something they consider blasphemous.
In the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt we understand that a version of the film will be released that removes all scenes of intimacy — be they heterosexual or homosexual. This is generally normal practice for these markets.
Back in May 2017, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman was officially banned in Lebanon. The ban was prompted by Lebanese group Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon because the pic’s lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli and a former soldier in that country’s army. Wonder Woman was also banned in Tunisia.