Based on the first trailer, Disney's live-action Christopher Robin is set to be a cute, and likely tear-jerking story, about a grown man reunited with his stuffed bear. However, a new poster makes the movie look less sweet and more terrifying. This is because the image in the poster reminds us less of Winnie the Pooh, and more of one of the most popular horror films of the last year, Stephen King's IT.
This new international poster (via Imp Awards) shows the little stuffed Winnie the Pooh doll that we met in the first teaser handing a red balloon to Ewan McGregor, who is dressed smartly in a suit, but is reaching out to take the balloon. On its own, it's more sweet material that drives home that this film will follow an adult Christopher Robin who reunites with his stuffed friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, and in the process probably refinds the little joys of life causes the audience to cry a lot.
If, however, this poster is making your skin crawl, it's probably because you saw IT last year and will never be able to look at a single red balloon the same way again. The balloon was a significant symbol in the horror film and was also used in much of the marketing, showing Pennywise the clown offering the balloon to young Georgie Denbrough. It doesn't go so well for Georgie.
The fact that Winnie the Pooh is a yellow stuffed bear and Georgie Denbrough wears a yellow rain slicker only helps enhance the similarity of the two images. We're guessing Disney wasn't trying to make people think of the terrifying horror movie, but now that I've seen it, I can't unsee it. I fully expect the scene following this one to include Winnie the Pooh growing a mouth full of hideous teeth and tearing Ewan McGregor's arm off at the shoulder.
Instead, Christopher Robin is likely to be as tame and heartwarming as you would expect from a Winnie the Pooh story. Although, the fact that these stuffed animals appear back in Christopher Robin's life at a time of extreme stress does make one wonder if there isn't a slightly dark aspect to the plot. It makes you wonder if he's actually seeing these toys come to life or if he's suffering some sort of delusion.
We'll know for sure when Christopher Robin arrives in theaters this August. To be followed by IT: Chapter 2 in September of 2019, which will probably have an all-new poster that makes simple things scare the hell out of you.