LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) request to show “Christopher Robin,” a movie that features the honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh, has been denied by authorities in China, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: Stuffed Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore characters are seen at the world premiere of Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” in Burbank, California, U.S., July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
It is unclear why the Chinese government denied entry to the film. Chinese authorities do not provide reasons to Hollywood studios when they reject their movies, the source said.
The government in Beijing has censored online images of Winnie the Pooh after some opponents likened the bear’s appearance to President Xi Jinping and have used Pooh as a symbol of resistance.
China, the world’s second-largest film market, also limits the number of foreign-made films allowed into the country at 34 a year. It typically favors action-heavy blockbusters such as “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther,” two of four Disney films that have played in China so far this year.
Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which debuted around the world in March, has not been released in China.
In “Christopher Robin,” the eponymous hero, now an adult, reunites with boyhood friend Winnie the Pooh and others such as Eeyore the donkey and Piglet. The characters were created by English author A.A. Milne.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine