China Snubs Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ Amid Longtime Winnie the Pooh Ban

Country’s censors have long targeted mentions of Pooh on social media sites over comparisons to President Xi Jinping

Last Updated: August 3, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

Disney’s “Christopher Robin” will not screen in China, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

The decision not to screen “Christopher Robin” follows China’s longtime policy of banning references to Winnie the Pooh in its media, including its social media sites, due to comparison’s to the country’s leader Xi Jinping. The ban represents the government’s attempt to stop ridicule of its leader.

In one past example of a joking Winnie the Pooh meme, Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are compared to Pooh and Eeyore after what many observers saw as a disastrous attempt to shake hands in 2014. In another, President Barack Obama is compared to Tigger walking alongside Pooh.

The insider who spoke to TheWrap said China officials did not share a specific reason they kept the movie out of the country.

China also recently blocked HBO and all mentions of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” after he made fun of the leader’s sensitivity of being compared to the cute bear.

“Christopher Robin” could not be screening in China also due to the foreign film quota of Hollywood tentpole films having been reached. According to io9, China has had a quota for foreign films since the 1990s. Currently, Dwayne Johnson’s “Skyscraper” is having a Chinese run.

“Christopher Robin” is looking at an opening weekend domestically between $30 million and $33 million. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed and Bronte Carmichael.

McGregor plays a man whose childhood stuffed Pooh Bear revisits him after he becomes a beleaguered man whose relationship with his wife and daughter has fallen apart thanks to increasing work responsibilities.

The film, directed by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”), currently holds a score of 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.