Dreamworks’ Abominable Has Already Been Pulled From One Country


Abominable is not the sort of movie you would expect to cause great controversy. It's a sweet little animated film about kids trying to help a yeti find his way home. It's meant to appeal to families, especially those with kids on the younger side, and the movie is going to be perfect for that audience. However, the film is now dealing with a spot of controversy that has actually resulted in Abominable being pulled from theaters in Vietnam.

The problem surrounds a map that is visible in a few scenes early in Abominable. The character of Yi, voiced by Chloe Bennet, has created a map of all the places in China that she wants to visit. However, viewers in Vietnam have noticed that the map in question uses what's known as the "9-dash line" in the South China Sea.

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The South China Sea is the home of an ongoing dispute between China and Vietnam regarding who has sovereignty over the waters. The 9-dash line is a creation of China which claims that China has rights over parts of the sea that Vietnam also claims. It seems that, since Abominable is, however, tacitly, accepting China's claim to the South China Sea, Vietnam is choosing to no longer accept the movie in its theaters.

Abominable is a joint production between Dreamworks Animation and Pearl Studio in Shanghai. The main characters are all from China, so, from a story standpoint, it certainly makes some sense that any map the characters might be able to get could include the 9-dash line.

At the same time, tensions are extremely high between Vietnam and China right now. According to the BBC, over the summer China conducted energy surveys in waters that Vietnam claims which renewed the tensions between the two nations, so Vietnam likely doesn't feel like allowing this slight into the country, even if it's "only" in an animated film.

Film's get a license from the Vietnamese government to screen in the nation and that license has now been revoked. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this decision. Editing the line from the movie might be enough to get the movie back in theaters, and that seems like a simple enough thing to do. Although, if this is becoming an issue of national pride, one wonders if the Shanghai-based animation studio would be willing to do such a thing.

Abominable had made about $350,000 in Vietnam since the film was released there October 4. It's also possible that the movie had largely run its course there, so there's no real financial reason to go to any extra effort to change the film.

Abominable has grossed about $100 million worldwide.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.