FOLLOWING VIETNAM’s lead in banning DreamWork’s animated feature Abominable over a scene showing China’s controversial “nine-dash line map,” the Philippines and Malaysia have also banned the film from showing in their cinemas.
In a statement sent to Pilipino Star Ngayon by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on Oct. 17, the board said the film had been pulled out of Philippine theaters on Oct. 15.
“MTRCB understands the situation brought about by the movie Abominable. We wish to assure the public that the said movie is already off the Philippine market effective October 15, 2019,” MTRCB Chairman Rachel Arenas said in the statement.
The movie, about a young girl befriending a yeti, has a scene which briefly shows a map of China’s “nine-dash line” — China claim around 80% of the resource-rich South China Sea, an area which is also claimed by several countries in Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei. The map was legally invalidated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, the Netherlands in 2016 in a landmark case brought to court by the Philippines.
The film was jointly produced by DreamWorks Animation and Shanghai-based Pearl Studio.
Last week, Vietnam took the lead in banning the film after a public outcry led to Vietnam’s largest theater chain apologizing for showing the film, according to The New York Times, and for the government to review and eventually pull it out.
Universal Studios, the film’s distributor, also abandoned plans to release the film in Malaysia after its censors demanded cuts to remove the offensive map.
“Universal has decided not to make the censor cut required by the Malaysian censor board and as such will not be able to release the film in Malaysia,” a spokeswoman for the film’s distributor, United International Pictures, said as quoted by The South China Morning Post on Oct. 20.
The film was supposed to be screened in Malaysia on Nov. 7. — ZBC