KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Local cinemas announced today that Disney's Beauty and the Beast film will be screened in Malaysia without any cuts, despite previous controversy over alleged gay content.
Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), the country's largest cinema chain, posted on its Facebook page that an uncensored version of the film will be screened.
"The moment you've been waiting for...BEAUTY AND THE BEAST CONFIRMED for 30 MARCH WITHOUT CUTS!!! Share this to your friends and get excited! Akhirnya we still can #BeOurGuest!! WOOOHOOOOO #NoCuts," it wrote this afternoon.
Another local cinema chain, TGV Cinemas, wrote a similar message on Twitter: "Beauty & The Beast is coming to #TGVCinemas on 30/3/2017! Advance sales start on 23/3 at http://TGV.com.my !"
An official at GSC confirmed the movie has been allowed with a “P13” rating, saying the company received the news this evening.
"It will remain as per the previous approval. ‘Lulus Bersih P13’," GSC's PR and branding manager Samantha Tan told Malay Mail Online.
As for how long Beauty and the Beast will be screened at GSC outlets, Tan said it will depend on "market demand".
A P13 classification means viewers below age 13 are allowed in the cinema if accompanied by their parents or an adult guardian as such films were deemed to contain horror, negative acts, non-excessive suspense elements, and/or plotlines that are difficult to understand and can disturb children's emotions.
The two other classifications available for films in Malaysia are "U" and "18", namely for all viewers without age limits and for those aged 18 and above. The latter would be for films that contain elements such as non-excessive adult scenes, as well as those with social or religious elements that require a high level of maturity to understand.
At the time of writing, Malay Mail Online has yet to receive a response from the Film Censorship Board chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid.
The film was initially set to screen in Malaysian cinemas on March 16, but film distributor The Walt Disney Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd was reported last week as postponing it indefinitely pending "internal review".
Abdul Halim had previously explained that the LPF had proposed cuts of four minutes and 38 seconds from the live-remake of the classic Disney animation, due to film director Bill Cordon's announcement that the movie contained a "first exclusively gay moment".
Disney Malaysia had refused to cut the scenes involving an alleged gay character from the movie for Malaysia, and was previously reported to have filed an appeal with the Home Ministry and postponed the Malaysian release to March 30 to give local authorities time to decide.