Mar 21, 2023, 8:43am EDT
East Asia

Why the screening of a new ‘Winnie the Pooh’ horror film was cancelled in Hong Kong

REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

Sign up for Semafor Flagship: The daily global news briefing you can trust. Read it now.

Title icon

The News

The distributors of the new British slasher film Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey cancelled its release in Hong Kong this week.

VII Pillars Entertainment said on Facebook that it was with “great regret” that they had to pull the film out of theaters but gave no further details.

Title icon

Know More

The honey-loving bear has previously been targeted by Chinese censors for memes that compared the character’s resemblance to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The comparisons began in 2013, when Xi met former U.S. President Barack Obama, with internet users likening the two leaders to Pooh and Tigger. Since then, Pooh has also been used as a symbol of defiance.

A year after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong to stamp out widespread pro-democracy protests, the city also imposed a censorship law to ban films that “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security.”

Some films, like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which was released in Oct. 2022, have been omitted from local cinemas and film festivals.