Jennifer Lopez's stripper hit Hustlers won't be seen in Malaysia. The movie was expected to open this past Thursday, but the country's censorship board said the movie was "not suitable for public viewing" and has banned it. This is a common practice in Malaysia, which also banned 2015's 50 Shades of Gray, 2019's Rocketman, and even 2017's Beauty and the Beast live-action remake. Hustlers has been a hit in North America and this will certainly be a small blow to its international box office earnings.
The Malaysian censorship board did not like the fact that Hustlers features nude breasts, erotic dancing, and drug use. The movie, which also stars Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, Cardi B, and Lizzo is based on real-life events. With that being said, it will not be shown in Malaysian theaters. Distributor Square Box Pictures had this to say about the ban.
"We regret to inform you that Hustlers movie release has been cancelled as it has been banned in Malaysia. We deeply apologize for the inconveniences caused to our beloved followers, fans of the movie, medias and partners. We certainly appreciate all the love and support from our fans and movie lovers for this title; yet it's our loss that we are unable to carry on. Our sincere apologies that we have let you down."
Hustlers tells the true story of a group of strippers who found a way to beat the 2008 financial crisis by drugging and robbing wealthy men in New York. The movie is based on a 2015 article in the New York Magazine called The Hustlers at Scores by Jessica Pressler. Hustlers has earned nearly $50 million globally since opening in theaters last weekend and it has a positive buzz surrounding it, thanks to performances from Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez.
While the buzz surrounding Hustlers has been mostly positive, the real-life stripper community is less than enthused about it. Many feel that it's not fair to see actresses portraying strippers get praise, while in reality, the real strippers are looked down upon. To make matters worse, some in the industry fear that the movie will give some would-be patrons a fear that all strippers are involved in criminal activity and will be out to drug and rob their clients.
Jennifer Lopez plays a characters based on Samantha Barbash, who has said that she finds Hustlers to be inaccurate. However, she declined to take part in the movie because she was insulted by how much money they offered her to consult. Whatever the case may be, Hustlers will not be shown in Malaysia. Some critics are calling Jennifer Lopez's performance a "career-best," while also noting the work of her co-stars. The movie has also been recognized for its humor and fun atmosphere, which quickly turns dark. You can check out Square Box Pictures' Instagram apology for the Malaysian ban below.