Thor: Love And Thunder Is Being Censored?
It looks like Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Thor: Love and Thunder, may be censored in a foreign country, but it has nothing to do with star Chris Hemsworth’s bare butt. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Norse God of Thunder may never swing his hammer on movie screens in China, which appears willing to ban the film from theaters over some references to gay and lesbian relationships. It isn’t the first time China has shunned a Disney movie over LGBTQ references, and it could have a major effect on the studio. If the Chinese communist government does indeed ban the film, it could severely hurt the bottom line for the film and Disney’s Marvel Studios as a whole, by missing out on ticket sales in one of the world’s largest film markets.
THR cites two sources with major theater chains in the country, who say Thor: Love and Thunder will not be approved by the country’s film regulations board. Just last month, China also censored another Disney film, Pixar’s Toy Story spinoff Lightyear, over a “gay kiss” shared between two women in the animated feature. The movie was also banned in a number of Middle Eastern countries, as well as Indonesia and Malaysia, for the same reason. Chinese government censors in Beijing never announce why a film has been banned in the country, although it is often clear by the film’s content. In addition to LGBTQ references, China has been known to ban films critical of communism or their own government.
Prior to its release, star Tessa Thompson teased that her character Valkyrie would have an LGBTQ relationship in Thor: Love and Thunder. Thompson may have raised expectations a bit too high, as the expected lesbian relationship was not actually shown as part of the storyline as some hoped, but rather was only referenced. However, Korg, a character made of rock and voiced by director Taika Waititi, does reveal that he was conceived by two dads. Giant Freakin Robot reported recently that Valkyrie’s lesbian relationship may have been toned down or cut due to fears of being censored, and Thompson (who identifies as bisexual) hasn’t discussed it since the film opened.
Thor: Love and Thunder made $143 million in its opening weekend, the biggest opening ever for a Thor film, although it came up short of besting the opening weekend for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which grossed $187 million domestically earlier this year. Disney, however, still relies heavily on foreign markets to boost its bottom line for big-budget epics. Thor: Ragnarok, which opened in 2017, grossed $112 million in China, and with the budget for Love and Thunder believed to be close to $250 million, the Chinese film market can make a huge difference in the financial success of a Marvel film. Even so, the last seven Marvel films were censored in China, for a variety of reasons. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, for example, was banned (many believe) over comments by star Simu Liu that were critical of the Chinese communist government. 2021’s Black Widow was the first Marvel film to be banned, although industry experts aren’t exactly sure why. A less-than-positive depiction of the Russian communist government in the 1980s may be the reason.
Way back when, the only hint of controversy surrounding Thor: Love and Thunder surrounded a scene in which Hemsworth’s rear end is shown on-camera, the first time nudity has been featured in a Marvel movie. The scene, when shown in the film’s trailer, was censored, with Hemsworth’s butt blurred for younger audiences. The scene is uncensored in the actual film, however, which is one of the reasons for the PG-13 rating. For Hemsworth, however, the entire scene was a great experience for him (as the video below shows).