The childhood-ruining horror movie “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey” is being pulled from theaters in Hong Kong. The film has also been reportedly pulled from theaters in Macau. Moviematic had organized a pre-release screening of the film in Hong Kong for March 21st, but last week they posted on social media saying the event had been canceled due to “technical reasons.”
The microbudget British slasher revolves around Winnie the Pooh and his sidekick Piglet going on a bloody rampage through Hundred Acre Woods. The movie was expected to hit over 30 theaters in Hong Kong this Thursday. Now several cinema chains have pulled “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey” from their websites. So either something is going on or these “technical reasons” are spreading like wildfire.
This has only fueled speculation about an unofficial ban on Winnie the Pooh in China. Disney’s 2018 film “Christopher Robin,” a much less violent interpretation of Winnie the Pooh, also wasn’t approved by authorities in China. While no reason was given for that rejection many think it is political. The children’s character has become somewhat of a symbol of resistance against the ruling Community Party. And many bloggers have drawn comparisons between the cuddly bear and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Since the introduction of the National Security Law in 2020, China has been seriously cracking down on dissent and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. Now, anything that is viewed as overtly sensitive to the mainland is unlikely to be screened in the territory. For example, in 2021, no Hong Kong broadcaster aired the Oscars for the first time in 50 years. This is despite Hong Kong’s own Derek Tsang’s film “Better Days” being nominated for best international film. This decision echoed instructions given by Beijing media regulators to mainland Chinese press outlets not to broadcast live coverage of the ceremony and to play down reporting on it. It is believed this decision was due to the nomination of the documentary “Do Not Split” about the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
This wouldn’t be the first time media was banned due to political pressure. In 1810 William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear” was banned from the stage until 1820. Since King George III “suffered bouts of insanity” they didn’t want people drawing comparisons between him and the king who is going insane in the play. We aren’t saying “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey” is the next “King Lear,” but we’re not, not saying that either.
Check out the trailer for “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey” below: