'Lightyear' gets NC16 rating in S'pore due to kiss between female characters who start family together

Disney declined releasing two versions.

Belmont Lay | June 14, 2022, 05:11 PM

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"Lightyear", the Disney animated film, has been issued an NC16 rating in Singapore for its “overt homosexual depictions”, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on June 14.

This makes it the first children’s animated film to be given an NC16 rating in Singapore over LGBTQ+ content.

The movie features a same-sex couple.

It will be out on June 16.

Disney declined releasing cut version

Singapore's media regulator said Disney, the film’s distributor, opted not to release two versions of the movie under a dual-rating system, with the lower-rated version available for a younger audience to watch.

Two female characters share kiss

“'Lightyear' is the first commercial children’s animation to feature overt homosexual depictions," IMDA said.

It is a prequel to Pixar's "Toy Story" franchise, featuring space ranger Buzz Lightyear.

The film depicts two female characters sharing a kiss and “some depictions of a female lead character and her partner starting a family and going through different milestones of their lives”.

The kiss occurs within the first 30 minutes of the film.

The movie had sparked controversy after the kissing scene in question was initially cut by Disney.

It was restored following protests by Pixar staff against censorship of LGBTQ+ characters.

Singapore's film classification system

Singapore's Simultaneous Rating Release mechanism has been in place since 2003.

It allows distributors to release different versions of the same film to “cater to different market segments”, IMDA said.

The aim is to "provide consumers with choice" and open "Lightyear" to a younger audience, IMDA added.

Classification guidelines

IMDA said the NC16 rating for the animated movie was decided based on its film classification guidelines.

A key principle was that the guidelines should be “sensitive to social norms and values that are generally acceptable to members of the public”.

Views of parents with younger children and the advisory committee were considered.

The chairperson of its Films Consultative Panel, Cheryl Ng, said the NC16 rating was “appropriate”.

Ng said: “While it is an excellent animated film set in the US context, Singapore is a diverse society where we have multiple sensibilities and viewpoints.”

“This being a children’s cartoon, a significant number of members felt that the overt depiction of same-gender marriage would warrant a higher rating.”

Ng added that some members were “uncomfortable” even after they were willing to consider giving it a lower rating, as it meant the movie could be shown unedited to a broad-based audience on free-to-air TV.

Movie won't be screened in some countries

Reuters reported on June 14 that the movie will not be shown in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

The odds of it being shown in China are low.

This was after authorities in China had apparently asked for cuts to be made, but Disney declined.

Top photo via Disney