Oh, bother. Disney’s Christopher Robin has been denied release in China.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, China’s film authorities have declined to allow the live-action/CGI family film to be shown in the country. No official reason was given.
However, there's speculation the decision may be spurred by the Chinese government's ongoing crackdown on images of Winnie-the-Pooh, who has become a symbol of resistance. Bloggers and others in opposition to the ruling Communist Party have drawn comparisons between the iconic stuffed bear and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. HBO was blocked by Chinese censors in June, after late-night host John Oliver mocked Xi’s sensitivity toward the issue.
Others have countered that the decision was based solely on the country’s foreign film quota, and the release of several, larger Hollywood tent poles in the Chinese market this year.
The only other Disney film to be denied a Chinese release this year was A Wrinkle in Time. The studio is set to open Marvel's Ant-Man and The Wasp in China later this month.
Directed by Marc Forster, Christopher Robin stars Ewan McGregor as the title character and Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn Robin, with Bronte Carmichael as their daughter Madeline Robin, and Mark Gatiss as Christopher’s employer Giles Winslow Jr., along with the voices of Jim Cummings as Pooh and Tigger, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Toby Jones as Owl, Sophie Okonedo as Kanga, and Peter Capaldi as Rabbit. The film opens Friday nationwide.