Elton John Biopic 'Rocketman' Censored In Russia

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The makers of the Elton John biopic Rocketman has slammed the film’s Russian distributor for reportedly cutting out scenes of drug use and gay intimacy.

“We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to censor Rocketman for the Russian market,” read a statement shared on the singer’s Instagram.

“That the local distributor has found it necessary to edit out certain scenes, denying he audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.”

The statement added: “We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”

MORE: Elton John Says Studios Wanted Less Sex, Drugs In Rocketman

The film will open in Russia on Thursday with five fewer minutes of content. 

“All scenes with kissing and sex between men were cut out,” Russian film critic Anton Dolin wrote on Facebook.

A message in the end credits of the film about John raising children with his Canadian partner David Furnish was also removed.

In a statement to the TASS news agency, distributor Central Partnership said only that the film had to be edited to comply with Russian laws. Depicting “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors is illegal in Russia.

Taron Egerton, who portrays John in Rocketman, shared on social media that he is “crestfallen” by the censorship.

“I in no way condone this decision and feel disappointed I wasn’t made aware and given the chance to fight this move,” he wrote. “Love is love. No compromises.”

Rocketman opened this past weekend in the U.S. and Canada in third place, grossing an estimated $25 million U.S.. It has already earned a total of $56.2 million U.S. worldwide.