The censoring required to get Bohemian Rhapsody a release in China

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Bohemian Rhapsody has secured a release on China, but with an awful lot of material cut out.


It’s little secret that Hollywood has been looking to the Chinese market over the past decade, lured by the expectation that it’ll be the largest single territory for movie box office in the near future. That said, releasing films in China is not without challenges. There are restrictions on the number of Hollywood movies that can get release slots, and also notoriously prudish Chinese censors to satiate.

In the case of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Oscar-winning biopic of Queen and Freddie Mercury, it turns out that nearly five minutes of cuts have been made to ensure that the film got the nod from the aforementioned censors.

As per a report at ABC Australia, references to Freddie Mercury’s sexuality, AIDS diagnosis and mention of drug taking have all been removed. Furthermore, the moment where Mercury explains that he’s bisexual to his girlfriend, Mary, has disappeared. As such, the film just shows them breaking up, with no explanation. Even the recreation of the music video of I Want To Break Free is gone.

Early box office numbers from China suggest a modest box office return for all of these efforts, too. And a film that had been accused already of taking the edges off Mercury’s story looks to have done so even more in the hope of significant box office dollars.

The uncut version is now available on disc and streaming in the UK.

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