Burger King Russia want It banned, because Pennywise looks like Ronald McDonald

Ben Bussey
·UK Movies Writer
Spot the difference…? (Credit: Warner Bros, McDonald’s)
Spot the difference…? (Credit: Warner Bros, McDonald’s)

Apparently real-life clowns aren’t the only ones worried that ‘It’ is going to take away their livelihood.

The Russian wing of fast food giants Burger King have filed a complaint with Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service over director Andy Muschietti’s acclaimed Stephen King adaptation, demanding the film be banned from cinemas.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Burger King Russia have made this complaint on the grounds that the film’s central antagonist, Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise the Clown, looks like Ronald McDonald, famed mascot of McDonald’s.

As such, they claim ‘It’ counts as “an advertisement for the rival fast-food brand,” and so they want the film removed from cinemas on grounds of balance in the marketplace.

A representative of FAS tells THR that the complaint is being looked at, saying they will need to evaluate whether ‘It’ does indeed feature product placement for McDonalds, and noting, “We can’t be concerned with the content of the film because the writer and director have their own creative understanding of any character.”

From our perspective, the characters of Ronald McDonald and Pennywise are pretty far removed from one another, or at least they certainly should be. But it should be interesting to see what conclusions FAS reach on the matter.

In any case, it may be too late to keep ‘It’ from influencing the Russian public, as the film has already been open there since 7 September, playing in over 100 cinemas and earning $14 million (approx £10.4 million) at the Russian box office so far.

The overall worldwide box office haul of ‘It’ currently stands at $478 million, bringing the film well on its way to being the highest-grossing horror movie of all time; at present it’s beaten only by 1999’s ‘The Sixth Sense,’ which made $672 million (and adjusted for inflation, both films are dwarfed by ‘The Exorcist,’ whose takings in modern money would be over $1 billion).

The ‘It’ sequel, telling the adult portion of King’s epic 1986 novel, has been given a green light and is scheduled to open on 6 September 2019.

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