Six seconds of dialogue referencing Dumbledore's romantic past have been scrubbed from the new film.
If you’re watching the new Fantastic Beasts movie in China, you’re going to get a different movie, by about six seconds. The third installment to the Harry Potter spin-off franchise has two lines of dialogue scrubbed in the film due to its reference to homosexuality.
In the film, Dumbledore, the iconic character from the Harry Potter universe who author J.K. Rowling revealed as gay after the book series concluded, references his romantic past to the franchise villain, Gellert Grendlewald. But in China’s version, these brief lines — “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love” — are gone from the movie.
Notably, in a statement to Variety, Warner Bros. acknowledged that it had approved the edits. “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,” the statement said. “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets…. 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.”
The censorship is nothing new in China, where recent major American works have made headlines recently for their edited versions: the tv show Friends had entire scenes referencing queer relationships deleted, and the anarchic ending of Fight Club was glaringly altered.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore opened in China last weekend to moderate box office success and premieres in the U.S. on April 15.