Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, which released in China this past weekend, did so without references to the same-sex relationship between two of the threequel’s lead characters. The Chinese censors requested a cut, which Warner Bros, according to a studio spokesperson, “accepted… to comply with local requirements,” adding, “the spirit of the film remains intact.” (See the full statement below.)
The six seconds that were excised refer to a past romantic relationship between Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore and dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Two lines were removed: “Because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.” The first is a line of dialogue and the second a voiceover.
This is not the first time that China has balked at the subject matter. The market overall doesn’t allow references to homosexuality on screen, and previously removed all mentions of it in Bohemian Rhapsody, for example. Deadline understands that despite the loss of the six seconds in Fantastic Beasts, the theme remains present.
While Harry Potter universe creator J.K. Rowling had, in 2007, revealed Dumbledore’s sexuality, the previous two films in the Fantastic Beasts series did not overtly state the fact.
The Secrets Of Dumbledore opened at No. 1 in China this past weekend, grossing $9.8M. The low start was to be expected as about 50% of the market’s cinemas are closed due to a Covid spike. Social scores were good.
Here is the full statement from Warner Bros:
“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. Our hope is to release our features worldwide as locked by their creators, but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets. 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.”