Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore might have been number one at the box office in China this week, but audiences there still aren't privy to one of the wizard's secrets: his former relationship with the film's villainous Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). The reason? China's government requested that the dialog referencing their romantic history be cut from the film, according to Variety.
While the removed dialogue only amounted to six seconds of the film's 142-minute runtime, it does mark the franchise's first textual reference to Dumbledore's (Jude Law) sexuality. Author J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore is gay back in 2009 but it was never mentioned outright in the books or any of the previous films until now.
As for what was cut, it amounted to two lines: "because I was in love with you" and "the summer Gellert and I fell in love" were both dropped from the Chinese release. However, Warner Bros. says that the "spirit" of the film remains unaffected.
"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," Warner Bros. told Variety. "Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released 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," it said. "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."
The film took the top spot at the box office in China, pulling in $9.7 million on its opening weekend. The film opens domestically on April 15.