Andy Muschietti's It was released to record-breaking box office numbers and positive critical reception, and Pennywise the Dancing Clown has made quite an impact in society as a result. People are dressing up as creepy clowns again to scare unsuspecting bystanders, the World Clown Association isn't happy with the image the demonic creature gives clowns, and people are even having extremely violent sexual fantasies about the creature.
Pennywise's effect on pop culture is such that now Burger King is trying to ban the film in Russia for a reason that seems to have been pulled straight out of a comedy rather than a horror film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Russian branch of the Burger King empire has filed a complaint against It to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, asking the film to be banned in Russia. The reason? BK feels that #Pennywise is just too similar to Ronald McDonald, which means the clown works as an elaborate marketing campaign for McDonald's. You can't make this stuff up, folks.
The issue is currently being evaluated. Whether or not the complaint goes through is a mystery right now, but an F.A.S. spokeswoman stated that, while the movie's creative vision is separate from Ronald McDonald, they'd have to check the film to see if there's any McDonald's advertisement: "We can't be concerned with the content of the film because the writer and director have their own creative understanding of any character."
Wow. I have to be honest, I never expected something like this to happen.
Is Pennywise Really Associated With Ronald McDonald That Much?
Tying Pennywise to Ronald McDonald will probably feel like a huge leap for most #horror fans. One is a demon hellbent on eating children and the other is a friendly clown looking to feed children (granted, not with the healthiest of food, but still). Surprisingly, however, the two clown characters are constantly being associated with one other.
This past April, the filmmaking duo of Michael & Danny Philippou took inspiration from the It trailer to create their own rendition of the horror tale. This time around, Ronald McDonald replaced Pennywise, and the outcome is both terrifying and downright hilarious.
That's not all. The comparisons between the two clowns continued with #StephenKing himself. In a video put together by Club Stephen King, the famed author discussed his inspiration for creating Pennywise. At one point, the man revealed that there was one time he got to sit down next to Ronald McDonald, during what I'm sure was one of the most bizarre flights in the history of air travel:
"I was on a book tour and I was on my way home... the plane started to pull away from the gate... and then it pulls back in. The door opens again and Ronald McDonald gets on the airplane. He's fully dressed [and] sits down next to me –– because I attract weirdness, I'm a weirdness magnet –– here he is orange hair, orange shoes, the whole nine yards. He sits down next to me [...] plane takes off, 'no smoking' light goes off, he pulls out a pack of Kents, lights up and he orders a gin and tonic from the stewardess... I said the only thing I could think of, 'Where did you come from?' He says, 'McDonaldland,' which is a real place in Chicago."
So yeah, it looks like the Burger King corporation isn't the first one to connect the two characters. Even with those examples though, it's still bizarre that Burger King would in any way feel that It is some form of covert advertisement for McDonald's. That's just not the case (like, at all). There's no telling where this case might go, but we'll keep you updated as more information comes out.
If you want to assess how similar Pennywise is to Ronald McDonald for yourself, It is currently in theaters.
How do you feel about Burger King's effort to ban It in Russia? Is the company going overboard or did it make the right call? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]