Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, has been banned in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries due to its inclusion of an LGBTQ+ character.
In an official social media announcement, IMAX Egypt confirmed that the film will not be screened in Egyptian cinemas. This decision comes after weeks of trailers and promotions being displayed in cinemas, such as VOX Cinemas, prior to its initially planned release on 5 May.
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Possibilities of ‘Doctor Strange’ being banned in the Middle East first gained momentum when a report by The Hollywood Reporter (THR) on 22 April indicated that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait had banned the film over the inclusion of a gay main character. THR reported, however, that the United Arab Emirates is not expected to ban the film.
The sequel of ‘Doctor Strange’ stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character, Elizabeth Olsen, Patrick Stewart, Benedict Wong, and Xochitl Gomez, who plays the role of America Chavez, the character that caused the ban.
Films that feature LGBTQ+ scenes or references are usually either censored or entirely banned across the Middle East. This is not the first Marvel film to be banned in Egypt for LGBTQ portrayals, as The Eternals was also banned on 11 November for featuring a gay main character as well.