Winnie The Pooh movie banned in China because of meme about President Xi
China is very important to Hollywood these days
There are 1.3 billion people in China, and Hollywood studios desperately want to tap into that potentially massive box office audience. Many American movies are now being produced with one eye on doing well in China – Iron Man 3 included extra scenes in the Chinese cut featuring local star Fan Bingbing, and Pacific Rim Uprising was only green-lit after doing well in the country, having disappointed at the US box office.
At the moment, only 34 foreign films are allowed by the government to be released in China, so competition is fierce to get through.
Which is why it is bad news for Disney that their new biopic of the creator of Winnie The Pooh, Christopher Robin, has been banned in the country. It is only the second time a Disney movie has been denied a release in China.
If it was a super-violent film, or had a lot of sex in it, then it would be easy to understand the ban. But it is a family-friendly movie about the creation of a beloved children’s character. No the reason is possibly far weirder.
No official reason has been given, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, it is because people online keep comparing Chinese President Xi Jinping.
— Jordan Ruimy (@mrRuimy) August 3, 2018
Didn't realise until watching #JohnOliver that the great Chinese President Xi Jinping, leader for life, is embarrassed by his supposed resemblance to Winnie the Pooh. All references to that have been banned on the Chinese internet #winniethepoohxi #xiwinniethepooh
— Vijai Mahesh (@vijaimaheshwari) June 22, 2018
Far from just being a silly joke, The Hollywood Reporter says that Pooh has become “a symbol of the resistance in China with foes of the ruling Communist Party”, and the government has been blocking pictures of the bear on social media. HBO was even blocked when John Oliver made fun of it on Last Week Tonight.
A Wrinkle In Time was the only other Disney film not to be granted a release in China, but Ant-Man and The Wasp will open there later this month.