Although the distributor did not give a reason for the change, the news comes after it was announced that the film features an LGBT protagonist. In 2013, Russia passed an anti-gay law that banned “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”
Russian legislator Vitaly Milonov — the man behind the controversial bill — reportedly railed against Lionsgate’s reboot of the popular ’90s franchise, and called its director, Dean Israelite, “a scumbag” on the conservative TV network Tsargrad. The Russian Culture Ministry reportedly also took heat from lawmaker Alexei Zhuravlev.
In “Power Rangers,” Becky G plays Trini, the Yellow Ranger, who questions her sexuality in a brief moment. “It’s something that I’m really proud of with my character,” she told Variety.
Israelite also spoke to Variety about his desire to represent the modern teenage experience. He said the film seeks to give “voices to characters that are underrepresented in not just movies, but also superhero movies.”
Recently, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” faced a similar imposition when it was revealed that the film included a “gay moment.” The movie was slapped with a 16+ rating in Russia.
Both “Beauty and the Beast” and “Power Rangers” have come under scrutiny from Malaysian censors as well. It was initially ruled that “Beauty” would cut the “gay moment,” but after Disney refused to make any changes, the ruling was overturned by an appeals committee. On Wednesday, “Power Rangers” was cleared for release in Malaysia, uncut, with a PG-13 rating — the same as its rating in the U.S.