KUALA LUMPUR — DreamWorks’ animated movie “Abominable” will not be released in Malaysia after its producers declined to meet a censor board requirement to cut a scene showing China’s “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea, the movie distributor said on Sunday.
The U-shaped line is used on Chinese maps to illustrate its territorial claims over vast expanses of the resource-rich South China Sea, including areas claimed by other countries.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $3.4 trillion worth of goods are transported annually, under its unilaterally declared “nine-dash-line.” The line overlaps territorial claims made by Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.
The Philippines last week pulled out the US-Chinese movie from theaters. In July 2016, the Philippines won a case against China as the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China’s “nine-dash line” and ruled that the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea (in the South China Sea). China is not recognizing the ruling.
Vietnam pulled the movie from cinemas last week. It was first shown in Vietnamese cinemas on October 4.
Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board said last week that it has given the green light for the movie to be screened in cinemas without the scene depicting the map.
“Universal has decided not to make the censor cut required by the Malaysian censor board and as such will not be able to release the film in Malaysia,” a spokeswoman for the film’s distributor, United International Pictures, said.
Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board did not have an immediate comment.
The film was set to be released in Malaysian cinemas on November 7.