Warner Bros. defends cutting Fantastic Beasts 3 references to Dumbledore being gay from China release

Warner Bros. has defended its decision to cut dialogue referencing Dumbledore’s homosexuality in Fantastic Beasts 3 from the movie’s release in China. 

According to Variety (opens in new tab), six seconds of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore have been removed – mainly dialogue alluding to a romantic past between Jude Law’s Dumbledore and Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald. While Dumbledore’s sexuality was first revealed by J.K. Rowling back in 2009, the latest installment in the Harry Potter franchise marks the first time it has been acknowledged on screen.

Two significant cuts were made: the first comes towards the beginning of the movie, when Dumbledore tells Grindelwald “I was in love with you”. The second comes later, as Dumbledore once again acknowledges his love for Grindelwald, saying: “The summer Gellert and I fell in love.”

Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter franchise, made the cuts at the behest of the Chinese government. “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. said in a statement. “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.”

The statement continues: “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. 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.”

While homosexuality is legal in China, people in same-sex relationships do not have the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples are, for instance, not allowed to marry or adopt, and China has no anti-discrimination laws to provide safety for LGBT+ people, with hate crimes based on sexuality not being outlawed.

Over its opening weekend at the box office in China, The Secrets of Dumbledore made $9.7 million despite severe cinema closures due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. 

Fantastic Beasts 3 is in UK cinemas now, and US theaters from April 15. If you have seen the movie, you can read our explainers on the Fantastic Beasts 3 ending and why Katherine Waterston’s role was minimal. You can also expect Fantastic Beasts 3 on HBO Max in the future.

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