Dalila Ali Rajah
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Bros Won't Be Released in Middle East Over Gay Sex Scenes

Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane

The gay romantic comedy Bros, the first such film to be backed by a major studio, will not be released in the Middle East.

“It’s still unclear exactly what markets in the region will be affected, but it’s likely to include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Kuwait — all of which are notorious for censoring movies over even the slightest hint of LGBTQ themes or content,” according to Variety, which was the first to report the story.

LGBTQ-inclusive films that have been banned in the region include Onward and the recent release Lightyear — both of which have queer characters. Marvel's The Eternals was banned in some countries in the region for showing the studio's first same-gender couple. Other films have had affectionate same-sex scenes cut for the market.

Bros tells the story of two New Yorkers, played by Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane, beginning a romance. Eichner plays a podcaster and museum curator who is reluctant to commit, while Macfarlane plays the lawyer who catches his eye. It includes several frank scenes of gay sex — although Macfarlane recently told Variety there were some ideas he nixed.

Eichner wrote the film along with director Nicholas Stoller. All of the major roles are played by LGBTQ+ actors, among them Amanda Bearse, Harvey Fierstein, Bowen Yang, Ts Madison, Symone, Miss Lawrence, Guillermo Diaz, and Guy Branum. It’s released by Universal Pictures. It will premiere in U.S. theaters September 30 and open overseas in October and November.

The lack of a Middle East release probably won’t cut deeply into the movie’s revenues, Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro, told Variety. “Comedies in general tend to lean more heavily on a domestic share of revenue, and in fact, it’s highly likely the studio factored in the expectation of not releasing this film in certain markets when budgeting for production and distribution,” he said.

Tags: film, World

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