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Vietnam bans Sony's movie 'Unchartered' over South China Sea images

Vietnam bans Sony's movie 'Unchartered' over South China Sea images

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Vietnam has banned Sony's Hollywood blockbuster "Uncharted" due to "illegal images" that depict China’s "nine-dash line" territorial claim of the South China Sea. The movie features actors Mark Walhberg, Antonio Banderas and Tom Holland, and was set for a nationwide release on 18 March 2022. According to VN Express, Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Department of Cinema under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the ban on the movie was decided by the National Film Evaluation Council.

Meanwhile, on the film's official Facebook page, netizens have called out on the film, with several of them clarifying that the "Hoang Sa, Truong Sa Islands, and the whole East Sea" belongs to the Vietnamese territory and not China's. Whereas other users responded by calling out on the "9-dash lines" featured in the map in the film, and have requested for it to be "boycotted". One particular netizen gave a harsher response, calling producers of the film to be "despicable" and "cheap", as it seems like they were trying to "please China".

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Sony Pictures for a statement. 

The U-shaped “nine-dash line” is used on Chinese maps to show claims over the South China Sea which has been disputed by Vietnam and this is not the first time Vietnam has taken such a stance. In October 2019, DreamWorks' Abominable film license was revoked after several Vietnamese took to social media to express displeasure over the "nine-dash line" shown on a map featured in the film, marking a resource-rich region in the South China Sea that China has unilaterally declared as its own. The film was about a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti on her roof. It was jointly produced by Shanghai-based Pearl Studio and DreamWorks Animation.

Championing the #BoycottAbominable movement, users on social media were calling out the show for the bias towards China and naming it as "propoganda". Following after, United International Pictures Malaysia (UIP) had also decided to not screen the animated film after demands made by censors to remove the "nine-dash" line scene could not be met. In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE at that time, UIP said that Universal Pictures "has decided not to make the censor cut required by the Malaysian censor board". 

Last year, Netflix also had to block Australian spy show "Pine Gap" from streaming in Vietnam due to complaints over the appearance of the map which depicted Chinese claims in the South China Sea. The Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information said in a statement on its website then that Netflix's violations angered and hurt the feelings of the people of Vietnam.

Related articles:
DreamWorks' Abominable film revoked in Vietnam over South China Sea map
Malaysia pulls DreamWorks’ Abominable film amidst furore over South China Sea
Venom 'raids' vending machine for chocolates in Sony Pictures' marketing stunt

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