About 45 minutes have been cut from the near-three-hour high-finance extravaganza The Wolf of Wall Street for Dubai audiences, or a quarter of the film, leaving many viewers disappointed and confused about the sequence of events.
The cuts come as the movie has drawn criticism even from film critics in more liberal countries for its portrayal of drugs, sex and money.
Detractors say the film glorifies unchecked greed, includes full nudity and is loaded with a reported record for using the word f*ck in a movie - more than 500.
Dubai moviegoers said all profanities were bleeped out from the Martin Scorsese film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio.
One woman wrote on the Facebook page for Reel Cinemas, which operates two cinemas in Dubai, that she and her friend walked out after about 40 minutes because they felt the movie was simply incoherent and unwatchable.
It is standard policy across most of the Middle East for governments to preview and censor uncut versions of movies, although the extent may differ. Censors edit out even kissing scenes in local cinemas and on Arab satellite television channels.
Juma al-Leem, director of media content at the National Media Centre, said censors in the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, typically cut out scenes or language deemed blasphemous or harmful to national security, along with excessive nudity.
However, al-Leem said on Tuesday that in this case the regional distributor, Gulf Film based in Dubai, was responsible for the heavy edits.
"We felt that the editing was done abroad and we will not accept editing done abroad," he said. "We want to see the whole film first and decide."
Gulf Film, which distributes Paramount and Universal titles in Dubai and other Gulf Arab states, and its parent company Qatar Media Services did not respond to a request for comment.