Although this has been hinted at and hinted at throughout Harry Potter and fantastic beasts franchise, Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets This is the first film in any of the franchises to explicitly state that Hogwarts’ favorite headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is gay and had a past romantic relationship with his nemesis Gellert Grindelwald. Dumbledore’s dialogue in the new fantastic beasts includes lines about him being «in love» with Grindelwald on two separate occasions.
But Chinese audiences won’t hear any of them, as roughly six seconds of spoken dialogue was removed from the film for its release in China. Warner Bros. released this statement regarding their decision to remove reference to Dumbledore’s sexuality via Hollywood Reporter:
As a studio, we strive to maintain the integrity of every film we release, and this extends to circumstances that require nuance to be responsive to various market factors. We hope to release our features globally as released by their creators, but historically we’ve seen small tweaks made in local markets. In the case of Fantastic Beasts: A Dumbledore Secret, a six-second version was requested, and Warner Bros. adopted these changes to suit local requirements, but the spirit of the film remained intact.
American films released in China must be approved by local government censors, who may reject the film for a variety of reasons, including references to homosexuality. (Another recent example, via New York Times: “Chinese censors put a black dress on the naked body of the heroine in water shape.») The censorship of Chinese films recently made headlines in the US when the Chinese approved the Fight club – with an incredible and inexplicable happy ending – appeared on social networks.
China is a huge market, so in recent years, Hollywood has often made cuts like those in Secrets of Dumbledore to benefit financially from having their film shown to a Chinese audience. And Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets already opened in China and No. 1 film in the country, despite cuts and massive closures of many theaters due to the ongoing Covid pandemic.