Viral Hit ‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey’ Pulled From Cinemas in Hong Kong

Cinemagoers in Hong Kong looking to have their childhoods potentially ruined by viral slasher hit Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey may have been left disappointed this week, with the film having been quietly pulled from theaters, a move that has fueled speculation about censorship over an apparent likeness between the children’s character and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The Hollywood Reporter understands that the microbudget British film — in which Winnie and his sidekick Piglet go on a cannibalistic rampage through the Hundred Acre Wood — was due to land in more than 30 cinemas in the city this Thursday, but has now been removed from schedules. The film has also reportedly been pulled from release in Macau.

Moviematic, which had organized a prerelease screening of the film in Hong Kong planned for Tuesday, said on social media that its event had been canceled because of unspecified “technical reasons.” Several cinema chains have since removed the film from their websites.

However, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey has successfully screened internationally — grossing more than $4 million so far with launches in the U.S., U.K., Mexico, Russia and Australia, to name just a few territories — without any such technical hiccups. THR hears a cut version, which had removed much of the film’s gore, had already passed through local censors in Hong Kong, while a secret screening took place there last week.

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The film’s near-silent removal from theaters has prompted speculation that it was pulled, according to one source, due to “political pressure,” with an outright — although unspoken — Winnie-the-Pooh ban in China now appearing to have spread to Hong Kong.

In 2018, Disney’s live-action/CGI feature Christopher Robin — featuring a far more savory version of Pooh — wasn’t approved by authorities in China. While no reason was given at the time, it was blamed on the country’s unofficial crackdown on images of the children’s character after he became a symbol of resistance against the ruling Community Party, with bloggers having drawn comparisons between the pudgy, cuddly bear and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.