Warner Bros. confirmed it has removed some dialogue from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore to appease the Chinese government.
The studio has taken out clear references to Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald’s (Mads Mikkelsen) romantic past.
The lines “I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love” officially make it canon for the first time in the Harry Potter franchise that the beloved Hogwarts professor is gay and had a romantic relationship with the dark wizard.
The cuts amount to just six seconds of the film’s 143-minute runtime, but are rather pivotal to establishing the characters.
“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,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement to THR. “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. We want audiences everywhere in the world to see and enjoy this film, and it’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits.”
The Secrets of Dumbledore has already opened in China, where it topped the box office during its opening weekend. The film’s tally was smaller than it otherwise would have been (just $9.7 million) since has the country’s cinemas are closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The film’s producer and co-screenwriter J.K. Rowling surprised fans by revealing Dumbledore is gay back in 2007 during a fan event after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The previous Fantastic Beasts film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, vaguely alluded to the relationship, but it wasn’t until the new film that the wizard expressed it clearly.
Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore opens in the U.S. this week and is so far generating stronger reviews than the previous entry in the franchise.