This Isn’t Your Mother’s Winnie the Pooh

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(Newser)

This is why you should always read the reviews carefully before taking your kids to the theater. The trailer for a new Winnie the Pooh movie, based on the lovable bear created by UK author AA Milne, dropped Wednesday. But in this nearly two-minute sneak peek at Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, we find a much less wholesome 100 Acre Woods. Directed by Rhys Waterfield, a now-grown Christopher Robin returns to his old stomping grounds with his girlfriend, determined to find his old pals. But the stuffed animals are apparently sore that Christopher left them behind to head off to college, and the clip soon devolves into a slasher-style film, complete with a murderous Pooh and Piglet.


As CNN notes, the two “appear to have turned against their childhood friend.” If you’re wondering why Disney, which acquired the rights to the Pooh characters more than 60 years ago, would warp its brand with that kind of gore, USA Today explains: Although Disney still retains rights to its own Pooh and Piglet, the characters have now entered the public domain—an entry allowed by US copyright laws 95 years after first publication, which in this case was 1926. That means Disney no longer has the exclusive rights to use them. And so Jagged Edge Productions can make Pooh and Piglet its homicidal stars, as long as it doesn’t make them resemble the Disney versions too closely (and indeed, they’re wearing different clothing in the JEP version).


Two characters you won’t see in the new film: Eeyore, the gloomy gray donkey whose grave marker we catch a glimpse of in the trailer, and Tigger, the bouncy tiger who didn’t first appear in Milne’s works until 1928—meaning he’s still under copyright protection. A final fun fact, to distract you from the disturbing sight of a killer Pooh: The bear’s name used to appear in Milne’s books with hyphens in it, until Disney scooped up licensing rights to the franchise from the Milne estate in the early ’60s and nixed the punctuation. The hyphens are back in this movie’s title, another apparent break from long-standing tradition. No release date for the film has yet been announced. (Read more Winnie the Pooh stories.)

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