Earlier this week, Pixar’s latest film, “Lightyear”, was released on Disney+ around the world. However, the film hasn’t been released in all countries, as according to Esquire Middle East “Lightyear” will not be released in the Middle East.
Disney+ only launched in the Middle East in June, and any kid-focused content such as “Lightyear” or “Baymax”, that does not align with local regulatory requirements, will not be added to the streaming service. In many countries across the Middle East, it is illegal and in some countries, punishable by death.
“Lightyear” wasn’t released in a number of countries due to it including a same-gender kiss and the “Baymax” series includes an LGBTQ storyline.
In a statement to Esquire, Disney said:
“Content offerings differ across our many Disney+ markets, based upon a number of factors. Content available should align with local regulatory requirements,”
This isn’t the first time Disney has not added released content in specific countries due to LGBTQ storylines. Most recently, “Thor: Love & Thunder” was not released in cinemas in Malaysia and “Lightyear” also wasn’t released in cinemas in some countries in the Middle East. It has also had issues with other recent releases like “West Side Story” and “Eternals”. With many of these releases, censors requested cuts to the films, which Disney did do with “Eternals” but have been refusing to do for releases since then.
However, Disney will continue to release content aimed at older audiences, such as “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, which includes LGBTQ characters, on Disney+ within the region.