On Friday, a Russian film distributor changed the new Power Rangers reboot’s rating from 16+ to the more restrictive 18+ following outcry from conservative Russian legislators about the film’s groundbreaking queer female superhero.
On Thursday, Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker with the United Russia party, told conservative Russian TV network Tsargrad that the film should be barred from the country because its Yellow Ranger character (played by Becky G) is queer. Milonov, who argued that Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast violated the country’s 2013 “gay propaganda” law earlier this month, compared Power Rangers to “fascist ideology.” (Beauty and the Beast, which features dialogue and one scene that suggests one of its characters is gay,also got a Russian release, thoughwith a 16+ rating.)
The Hollywood Reporter reports that legislator Alexei Zhuravlev has additionally voiced concerns about the film, which was released on Thursday night in Russia: “Some officials [at the Culture Ministry] don’t want to observe laws adopted by the State Duma [lower chamber of Russian Parliament], specifically the law banning gay propaganda among minors,” he told Tsargrad.
The new Power Rangers rating ensures that only viewers over 18 will be permitted into the theater, meaning the film’s audience will largely be older than the characters in the film, who are attending high school.
On Thursday night, The Hollywood Reporter’s Vladimir Kozlov polled one of those viewers, 26-year-old Nikolai, as he was leaving a Power Rangers screening. Asked about the film’s queer character, Nikolai responded: “It makes no difference to me what she is as the movie was pretty dumb anyway.”