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Tue 21 Mar 2017 08:01 PM

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Kuwait bans Beauty and the Beast movie

Kuwait National Cinema Company withdraws film four days after launch to review content

Kuwait bans Beauty and the Beast movie

The Kuwait National Cinema Company said on Tuesday it has decided to ban Disney's hit movie "Beauty and the Beast", citing its "responsibilities" despite it already having been screened.

The film was released in the conservative Muslim Gulf state on Thursday, but the privately owned company withdrew the film four days later to review its content.

"Beauty and the Beast" has come under fire in some Muslim countries for a "gay moment", but Disney said on Tuesday it will be released in Muslim-majority Malaysia with no cuts.

Starring "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson, the movie has raised hackles worldwide among religious groups angered by its depiction of Le Fou, the sycophantic sidekick to antagonist Gaston, as a gay man -- making him Disney's first-ever openly gay character.

"Dear customers: We would like to inform you that the management of Kuwait National Cinema Company has decided to bar the 'Beauty and the Beast' film," the company said in a statement on its official Twitter account on Tuesday.

The decision "is in line with the company's responsiblities and principles towards young customers", it said.

A day earlier, the company tweeted that it had decided to suspend the screening of the film to review its content, apparently after objections were raised on social media.

Despite the "gay moment" controversy, the movie shattered box office records in its opening weekend, taking a monster $175.7 million in North America and $357 million in total, according to industry data released on Monday.

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