Disney-Pixar animated film Lightyear rated NC16 because of 'overt homosexual depictions': IMDA
SINGAPORE — Disney’s latest animated film Lightyear has been given an NC16 rating here because the Toy Story spin-off features “overt homosexual depictions”, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said.
This means that those aged under 16 will not be allowed to see the film, produced by Pixar and distributed by Disney, in theatres when it opens on Thursday.
The movie contains several scenes of a female lead character and her same-sex partner starting a family and going through different milestones of their lives, as well as sharing a kiss, IMDA said on Tuesday (June 14).
It is the first commercial children’s animation "to feature overt homosexual depictions", it added.
The decision on the rating was guided by the Film Classification Guidelines, which are designed to be "sensitive to social norms and values that are generally acceptable to members of the public,” IMDA said.
The authority had also sought the views of its advisory committees, which included the views of parents with young children.
Ms Cheryl Ng, chairperson of IMDA’s films consultative panel, said that the NC16 rating would be appropriate for the film.
“While it is an excellent animated film set in the US context, Singapore is a diverse society where we have multiple sensibilities and viewpoints,” she added.
“This being a children’s cartoon, a significant number of panel members felt that the overt depiction of same-gender marriage would warrant a higher rating.”
She also said that even among members who were willing to consider a lower rating, some were uncomfortable because this would mean that “it can be shown unedited, to a broad-based audience on free-to-air TV”.
Given the mature content, IMDA had asked Disney to consider releasing the film in two versions under Singapore’s Simultaneous Rating Release mechanism, which was introduced in 2003.
This means that a version of the movie rated to allow younger viewers to see the film would be released at the same time as the unedited version so that movie-goers would have a choice.
In 2019, Encore Films released the Hellboy film in both an M18 version and a PG13 version, because the original film contained strong depictions of violence.
However, IMDA said that Disney has turned down the option of doing this with Lightyear.
“It would have been good if Disney had released dual versions of the film. Then younger audiences would be able to catch the film in the cinemas,” Ms Ng said.
Disney has also reportedly failed to obtain permission to screen the movie in various Asian and Middle Eastern markets for the same reasons given by IMDA.
In 2019, Disney removed a scene of a brief kiss between two female characters from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for screenings in Singapore.