A Week After NBA Clash With China, Vietnam Hits DreamWorks With ‘Abominable’ Ban

Less than a week after politics eclipsed the NBA’s exhibition games in China, an animated movie became the target of Vietnam’s ire over disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The Southeast Asian country took “serious” objection to “Abominable,” the movie from Comcast Corp.’s DreamWorks Animation, which depicted Beijing’s version of its maritime boundaries with its neighbor. China’s so-called “nine-dash line” claims a vast part of the waters and is contested by Hanoi.

The government of Vietnam instructed cinema halls in the country to pull the movie and told them to stop all promotions. Culture Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien ordered a thorough probe into who was responsible for granting permits to the movie in Vietnam, according to a posting on the ministry’s website.

The controversy involving the fall season’s first Hollywood animated picture is the latest example of companies getting caught in the crossfire of Asian geopolitics. Chinese state television and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s streaming platform last week blacked out two National Basketball Association games in Shanghai and Shenzhen, angered over a tweet by an official supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Vietnam, which fought a war with its fellow Communist country along their land border in 1979, has been the region’s most forceful nation in pushing back against Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. China’s “nine-dash line” encompasses more than 80% of those waters, which the U.S. says could contain unexploited hydrocarbons worth $2.5 trillion.

“Abominable” is a Chinese co-production featuring the voice of Chloe Bennett as a teenage girl named Yi, who finds a yeti on the roof of her home in Shanghai. She names him “Everest” and sets off to help him get home to his family. The movie opened in U.S. theaters late last month.

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