If you've been waiting for the release of the live action Beauty and the Beast movie, we're afraid you might have to wait a little bit longer.
On Monday, The Star Online broke the news that the release date of Disney’s live action remake of the 1991 animated film has been postponed indefinitely.
The highly anticipated movie, which was due to be released on 16 March, has also reportedly been taken down from the showtime listings at most cinema chains.
In a statement released to the media, The Walt Disney Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd said the release of the movie was postponed "due to internal review of release date".
The sudden cancellation came as a shock to many, especially Disney faithfuls who have been waiting for years to catch the film.
So, what was the reason behind the sudden postponement? We put on our Sherlock caps and attempt to investigate.
The post that started it all
News about a possible postponement first came to light when a local Beauty and the Beast fan, who declined to be named when we contacted him, tried to book tickets for a book club group screening online on Sunday.
But the highly anticipated movie was nowhere to be seen under TGV’s 'Next Change' tab, so he called TGV’s hotline only to be told by an employee of the cinema chain that, “Disney had recalled the movie.”
Stunned, the fan informed the administrator of the book club, who in turn posted a status on the club's Facebook group:
Image: Facebook.com (Used with permission from administrator)
This led to an uproar and major confusion among fans of the movie who had been waiting for the remake for over two years since it was first announced in January 2015.
Speculation arose as to whether the Emma Watson-starrer would even be showing in Malaysia at all.
So, why was the release date postponed?
Some speculated that it might be due to the recent Vanity Fair photoshoot in which Watson’s breasts were partially revealed
, which sparked a massive debate online.
However, the most likely cause was because the movie features a gay character, LeFou.
In an interview with Attitude Magazine
, director Bill Condon explained, “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston."
Needless to say, the news that the movie would feature a “nice, exclusively gay moment” caused quite the ruckus in many countries.
A Russian lawmaker condemned the movie, calling for it to be banned. The country’s Culture Ministry instead imposed a 16+ age rating.
Alabama theatre Henagar Drive-in cancelled its scheduled screenings after the news broke.
Closer to home, Indonesia’s film censorship board granted permission for it to be screened for those aged 13 and above.
When we reached out to a Disney Malaysia representative to ask if that was indeed the reason behind the postponement, she declined to give an official statement.
She, however, noted that the movie had not been recalled but that they were currently “reviewing a new release date.”
We have also gotten in touch with Lembaga Penapis Filem
(the Malaysian Film Censorship Board) for more details, but have yet to receive any responses.
There's a little bit of good news, though
As for whether Malaysia’s screenings of the film will feature the moment in which LeFou discovers he’s gay - or if the movie will ever make it to Malaysian cinema screens - that has yet to be seen.
However, you really shouldn’t worry. A little birdie who works in the local movie industry told us that the movie likely wouldn’t be banned in the country, but there's no exact timeline when the movie will be released in Malaysian cinemas.
For now, there's nothing much we can do except to play the waiting game.
We will update the story once we hear back from the representatives.