Thanks to the inclusion of Disney's first gay character, Russia has declared it will ban anyone under 16 from seeing "Beauty and the Beast."
Controversial Russian legislator Vitaly Milonov said Tuesday via Russian radio that he was pleased with the rating decision: "Only adults are capable of deciding whether they are interested in looking at some perverts," THR quotes him as saying.
Meanwhile, Josh Gad, who plays the character in question, defended the subtle "moment" in the film in which the audience realizes LeFou is gay as "important" and that the film is about "inclusiveness" and "has something to offer everyone." A theater in Alabama earlier announced it wouldn't show the film at all.
It's the first Disney movie to be slapped with such a restrictive rating in Russia. Previous ratings for Disney films such as the romance-free "Moana" have been "6+". "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and "The Jungle Book," which were both rated PG in the US, were released with a 12+ age restriction, according to THR.
Banning all children under 16 will likely have a big dent on the Russian box office. However the live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic is currently the fastest-selling family film of all time in the U.S. and expected to have an opening weekend of $120 million stateside.
"Beauty and the Beast," which is also rated PG, opens March 17.
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast's hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside. Read More