Is ‘50 Shades’ still too sexy for Vietnamese moviegoers?

By Vu Van Viet   February 10, 2017 | 12:58 am PT
The erotic series once again faced a release hiccup in Vietnam, where censors are known for being tough with steamy scenes.

“50 Shades Darker” and “John Wick: Chapter 2” could not have their premiere in Vietnam on Friday morning as planned as censors did not give their blessings.

It is not immediately clear why the much-anticipated sequels were hold up, but “50 Shades” may be too sexy and “John Wick” too violent.

Vietnam adopted a new film rating system in January, allowing censors for the first time to completely block out anyone under 18 from films rated “C18.”

Nguyen Hoang Hai from CGV, the biggest cinema chain in Vietnam, said it did not receive permission to start showing “50 Shades Darker” on Friday morning. Screenings for the press were reportedly canceled earlier this week.

Hai also said that the version intended for the Vietnamese market already “had several sex scenes cut” and that local theaters were also expecting an adult-only “C18” rating.

CGV’s website began to list showtimes for both films again in late Friday afternoon.

The first “50 Shades” film did not have so much luck either two years ago, when censors unexpectedly canceled all planned screenings. Then a so-called “Asian version” managed to hit theaters but moviegoers complained that there were no sex scenes left.

Moviegoers were expecting less censorship when the authorities announced a new rating system with a series of age-based classifications C13, C16 and C18, besides P for general viewers.

Before that, local cinemas adopted only two ratings – G for general viewers and NC16 for those above 16.

But an industry insider told VnExpress anonymously that new system apparently does not really change how a film is reviewed and edited. Officials from the Cinema Department still recommend precuts before officially assigning their ratings, the source said.

Sex generally remains a controversial subject in movie and arts in Vietnam. In 2015, officials proposed banning all sex scenes that lasted over five seconds in local films and full-frontal female nudity. The proposal was not discussed after that due to strong opposition from filmmakers.

Watch the official trailer for "50 Shades Darker."

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