Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Won't Say Gay In China

The third of the five promised films in the extension of the "Harry Potter"-verse, "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" releases on April 15 across theaters in the US. But it already made its way to theaters in several other countries, including China, on April 8. On top of that, it also had a smashing opening weekend. Per Variety, the movie took the box office by storm this weekend by capturing a 63% market share of total earnings at the Chinese box office. It earned roughly $9.7 million (when converted from RMB) over the first three days of its release.

"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" picks up after the events of the second movie. It follows Newt Scamander and a team of wizards, witches and a muggle, as they hunt for Gellert Grindelwald, played by Mads Mikkelsen (who is replacing Johnny Depp). In this monstrous task, the team seeks help from a great wizard, who also happens to be Grindelwald's former lover, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law).

And this is where Warner Bros.' trouble begins. While the "Harry Potter" movies and books never directly alluded to Dumbledore's sexuality, Rowling, in the years after the movies, revealed that Dumbledore was gay. The newest "Fantastic Beasts" movie, since it focuses on a young Dumbledore, has been more open about his romance with Grindelwald — something most Potter fans have demanded for years. However, this storytelling decision has irked the censors in China.

Warner Bros. released an edited version of the film in China

The Chinese government has a history of censoring media, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ+ characters and storylines, such as removing entire plotlines from airings of "Friends" reruns. People in China have pointed out how this censorship has ramped up in recent years in increasingly problematic ways (per NBC News). And when it comes to "Fantastic Beasts," per request from China, two dialogues that directly reveal a romantic past between Dumbledore and Grindelwald were edited out from the movie for release in China, according to News.com.au. Both of these are Dumbledore's lines as he addresses or refers to Grindelwald. In one line, Dumbledore says, "because I was in love with you." In the next, he refers to "the summer Gellert [Grindelwald] and I fell in love."

The editing of these two lines has caused a six-second subtraction from the 142-minute length of the movie. The "Fantastic Beasts" films, in their first two iterations, had remained clear of any direct references to Grindelwald and Dumbledore's romance, only implicitly establishing the duo's complex and deeply passionate relationship. Even in the third movie, the edited lines are the only elements confirming their romantic relationship.

Warner Bros., believe that the omission of those dialogues will not impact the integrity of the film. In a statement given by the studio giants to Variety, they explained that the edits were made to adhere to several "in-market factors." The statement added, "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." 

While this is the case in China, the film will include the two dialogues in the US version, which releases on April 15.