Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Denied Release In Saudi Arabia

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will not get a theatrical release in Saudi Arabia. According to Deadline, the MCU film hasn’t been technically banned–but will not receive a distribution certificate presumably due to the film’s inclusion of a queer character.

Multiverse of Madness won’t have its premiere until May 2 and stateside release until May 6, which means that critics haven’t yet seen the film. However, it has already been announced that the movie introduces the Marvel character America Chavez, who is gay in the source material. The character is portrayed by Xochitl Gomez (Gentefied). It’s not known how prominently America Chavez will feature in the film overall.

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Disney has already–and fairly recently–seen two of its major releases run into pushback from the Gulf region. In January this year, West Side Story was not allowed to hit cinemas in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait for its inclusion of a transgender character portrayed by a nonbinary actor. Before that, Marvel’s Eternals was pulled in November 2021 for including a same-gender couple.

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Author: David Wolinsky