n Friday, the film Bohemian Rhapsody opened at theaters in China at the cost of several minutes of cut footage which leave some rather confusing gaps in the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury.
Scenes cut from the original release of the film mostly include those that reference Mercury’s sexuality. For example, Mercury’s relationship with his long-term partner Jim Hutton becomes particularly hard to follow as all intimate scenes between the two have been removed including a passionate kiss.
Meanwhile, another scene where Mercury, played by Oscar-winner Rami Malek, comes out as bisexual to his then-girlfriend Mary Austin has also been cut, leaving the audience with no explanation for why the two broke up. Even Queen drummer Roger Taylor commenting “gayer?” about Mercury’s new haircut doesn’t make it into the China cut of the movie.
Though it wasn’t only the LGBT moments that got censored out of the China release. Also gone is a short clip that draws attention to Mercury’s pelvic thrusts on stage and a long recreation of the 1984 music video for “I Want to Break Free” where the band members dress up in women’s clothing. Confusingly, the film then picks back up with Queen reacting to MTV having banned the video.
While homosexuality is not illegal in China, depictions of homosexuality are banned from TV shows and movies. Considering this prohibition, many were surprised when the movie managed to secure a China release. Evidently, the film’s producers felt that their work being seen in the Middle Kingdom was worth the cost of losing the LGBT scenes.
In the end, Bohemian Rhapsody only secured a limited release across China’s National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas, making $6.6 million over its opening weekend. Despite the cuts, the film has received rave reviews in China, currently boasting an 8.7 rating on the country’s version of IMDb.