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‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ Gay Dialogue Involving Dumbledore’s Romantic Past Cut in China

Warner Bros. agreed to cut six seconds from the movie but says the "spirit of the film remains" despite the cuts.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, back, from left: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, 2022.  ph: Jaap Buitendijk /© Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

A reference to a gay relationship between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and close childhood friend-turned-lover Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) has been cut from the Chinese release of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” Variety confirmed the edits with Warner Bros., the distributor behind the film, who stands by the minor edits, which involved cutting six seconds of dialogue.

Warner Bros. accepted the request from China to remove the dialogue, which included the lines “because I was in with love with you,” spoken by Dumbledore, as well as “the summer Gellert [Mikkelsen] and I fell in love.” (Via News.com.au.) Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s bond remains intact albeit implicit. “Harry Potter” author and mogul J.K. Rowling first announced Dumbledore was gay in 2009, but the films have yet to fully address the character’s sexuality until this most recent entry.

“As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors,” Warner Bros. told Variety. “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.”

The statement continued, “In the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros. accepted those changes to comply with local requirements but the spirit of the film remains intact. We want audiences everywhere in the world to see and enjoy this film, and it’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits.”

China has a history of censoring LGBTQ content in mainstream fare, with a recent example including 2019’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the musical biopic of queer rock icon Freddie Mercury, from which a number of gay references were excised from the Chinese release of the 20th Century Studios film.

The “Fantastic Beasts” censorship hasn’t impacted the box office for “The Secrets of Dumbledore” in China, as the film conquered during its overseas opening weekend (with $9.7 million U.S. dollars in its opening days). The movie opens in the United States on Friday, April 15.

Read IndieWire’s review of the film here.

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