TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China has banned the live-action Disney movie “Christopher Robin,” possibly because of its campaign against comparisons between the movie’s character Winnie the Pooh and President Xi Jinping (習近平), according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Past appearances of Xi with then-U.S. President Barack Obama and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have produced online comparisons of the Chinese leader with the pudgy cartoon character. Xi is reportedly so sensitive to the comparisons, that China launched a campaign of censorship against images of the cuddly bear.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that Disney launched the plan for the live-action/CGI movie with Scottish actor Ewan McGregor in 2015, before the comparisons started, and began shooting the film in the summer of last year, just as the controversy was about to erupt.
While China’s ban on the movie is seen as “a small blow,” on the whole it will not mean too much as it is still expected to make up to US$30 million when it opens in the United States this weekend, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The publication also noted that one of the reasons for the ban in China might be its foreign film quota, allowing Beijing to limit the number of Hollywood movies showing inside the country.