Christopher Robin will not receive a theatrical release in China, observers speculate political motivations: Report

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Aug 3, 2018, 1:36 PM EDT

Disney's live-action/CGI family fantasy Christopher Robin won't be released in China, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today.

While no concrete reason was given, the paper claims some sources have speculated that the decision had something to do with the fact that Winnie-the-Pooh (one of the movie's main characters) has become a symbol of satire and resistance against China's ruling Communist majority.

Some have been drawing comparisons online between the iconic bear and current Chinese president and Community Party leader Xi Jinping. John Oliver poked fun at the outrage over the parallels, causing his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, to promptly be blocked. 

This type of censorship in China is nothing new, and Christopher Robin isn't even the first Disney movie to be barred from theatrical release there this year; A Wrinkle in Time didn't debut there, either. The next Disney feature to open in China will be Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and the Wasp, on Aug. 24.

Directed by Marc Forster, Christopher Robin stars Ewan McGregor as a grown-up version of the titular character, now with a family of his own. With work taking over his life, he's become a no-nonsense individual, who's forgotten what it was like to play with his animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. As such, it's up to Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, and the rest to remind their old buddy about what it's like to enjoy life. 

Released in theaters last night, the film has already brought in $1.5 million at the box office, reports Box Office Mojo. Even so, it looks as if Mission: Impossible - Fallout will retain the top spot for the second weekend in a row.