A Buzz Lightyear origin story film featuring a lesbian kiss has been banned in the United Arab Emirates.
Malaysia and Bahrain could also ban Pixar’s Toy Story spin-off Lightyear, according to reports.
The Emirates, which includes Abu Dhabi and Dubai, announced through the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Media Regulatory Office that the film will not open there on its release date on Thursday.
In a tweet, the office said the film is “not licensed for public screening” due to its “violation of the country’s media content standards”.
The statement continued: “The office confirms that all films screened in cinemas across the country are subject to follow-up and evaluation before the date of screening to the public, to ensure the safety of the circulated content according to the appropriate age classification.”
However, it did not specify the supposed violation.
Cinemas in the UAE had already advertised timings for the film, which is centred around the Buzz Lightyear action figure character from the popular Toy Story franchise series.
Captain America star Chris Evans voices the character of the young Lightyear in the film, which is billed as “the definitive origin story”.
The ban comes following a social media campaign featuring the Arabic hashtag “Ban Showing Lightyear in the Emirates”, which gathered pace over the weekend.
The film includes female character Alisha Hawthorne, voiced by actress Uzo Aduba, who is shown kissing her female partner.
The UAE – a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai – is a Muslim-led nation that criminalises same-sex relationships, like many other Middle East nations.
Studios have allowed censors to cut films in global distribution for content in the past, including in the Middle East market.
The Star, Malaysia’s top English-language newspaper, cited an anonymous, non-government source as saying that Lightyear will not be shown in cinemas in the country.
A newspaper in the Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain has also speculated the film will not be shown there.