Beauty and the Beast will be released in Russia, but it will be an adults-only event.
Last week, it was announced the Disney classic’s live-action remake, featuring Emma Watson as Belle, would also mark Disney’s first ‘exclusively gay moment’ on screen.
Leading man Gaston’s manservant, LeFou, will be struggling with his sexuality and his feelings for his ultra-macho boss.
On Saturday (4 March), news broke the Russian government was considering banning the film under its strict ‘gay propaganda’ laws.
Vitaly Milonov, a member of the State Duma, urged the Russian government to ‘scrutinize’ the film to see whether it held up against the anti-gay laws.
Milonov is also the politician who wrote the law.
In a letter to the culture ministry, he said Beauty and the Beast showed ‘overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion under the guise of a fairy tale’.
Yesterday (6 March) the ministry announced Beauty and the Beast would be shown.
But they also gave the film a 16+ rating.
‘We are issuing an exhibition license to the movie without any problems,’ Vyacheslav Tyelnov, head of the culture ministry’s film department, told KinoPoisk.ru.
‘The age restriction will be 16+.’
Normally, anything found to contain ‘gay propaganda’ would need to be given an 18+ rating.
But even with a lower rating, the film still locks out Disney’s key audience, which is likely to have a negative impact at the box office.
Russia’s decision is not the first controversy surrounding Beauty and the Beast.
On Friday (3 March), an Alabama drive-in movie theater cancelled all screenings of the film.
‘If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it,’ the owners wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post.
‘I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches.
‘We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.’