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Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey gets mysteriously pulled from cinemas in Hong Kong
Featured Image Credit: Altitude Film Distribution. ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey gets mysteriously pulled from cinemas in Hong Kong

The slasher film was removed 30 Hong Kong cinemas, sparking speculation over censorship.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey has been swiftly removed from more than 30 Hong Kong cinemas, sparking speculation over censorship and political pressure from China.

The British slasher film, which follows the infamous bear on a murderous rampage, was quietly pulled from theaters.

But its distributors failed to explain why the screenings were cancelled.

ABC News reported that VII Pillars Entertainment said on its Facebook page that the release of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey on Thursday had been canceled with ‘great regret’ in Hong Kong and Macao.

Jagged Edge Productions, ITN Studios and Altitude Film Distribution

However, Moviematic, which had organized the movie screenings, had reported on their social media account that it had been pulled due to ‘technical issues’, as per the outlet.

A spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration (OFNAA) said Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey had been approved for release; however, the office could not say why the film was canceled.

“The arrangements of cinemas in Hong Kong on the screening of individual films with certificates of approval in their premises are the commercial decisions of the cinemas concerned, and OFNAA would not comment on such arrangements,” the spokesperson told Al Jazeera.

Many have speculated that censorship caused the film to be removed due to Winnie-the-Pooh’s likeness to President Xi Jinping.

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The leader has been compared to the bumbling bear since 2013 when a photo of the Chinese president walking alongside President Obama resembled an image of Winnie and Tigger.

In 2014, another image of Xi went viral after he met with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

The photo was accompanied by Winnie (Xi) and an expressionless Eeyore resembling the former Japanese leader.

The Guardian reported that another comparison of Xi and Winnie was made the following year during a military parade celebrating its World War Two victory.

Ultimately it became the year’s most censored image, and, according to Global Risks Insight, the Chinese government views the constant memes of Xi and Winnie as a ‘serious effort to undermine the dignity’ of the president.

“Authoritarian regimes are often touchy, yet the backlash is confusing since the government is effectively squashing an potential positive, and organic, public image campaign for Xi,” Global Risks Insight writer Jeremy Luedi added.

In 2018, Chinese censors also prevented the release of Christopher Robin, a live-action film centering Robin, now an adult, who is granted a surprise visit from his old pal, Winnie.

Topics: News, Film and TV, World News, Politics, China