Burger King's Russian arm wants to ban the film adaptation of Stephen King's It in the country because the fast-food franchise claims that the movie's antagonist, Pennywise, too closely resembles Ronald McDonald, the mascot of McDonald's. Burger King's argument is based on the theory that the film will work as a de facto advertisement for its competitor.
A spokeswoman for Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said that the organization will evaluate the complaint, adding, "We can't be concerned with the content of the film because the writer and director have their own creative understanding of any character." The spokeswoman also noted that FAS would have to investigate any advertising or product placement in the film.
McDonald's is one of Burger King's major competitors in the region, with the latter trying to expand its operations in Russia.
It recently became the highest-grossing horror film of all time, surpassing 1973's The Exorcist, which brought in $232.9 million domestically. It has made more than $268 million domestically and has a global total of slightly over $480 million. There is a parody video on YouTube called It - McDonald's Edition that substitutes the mascot in for Pennywise.
The hugely successful film's sequel will arrive in theaters on Sept. 6, 2019. Gary Dauberman, who co-wrote the first film, will return to write the sequel with director Andrés Muschietti returning behind the camera.
The sequel will catch up with the Losers Club, 27 years after their battle with Pennywise. The group will have to reassemble as adults to take on the creature that turned their idyllic childhood summer into a twisted waking nightmare.
Currently screening in theaters, It is a production of New Line Cinema directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer and Chosen Jacobs.