Burger King’s Russian branch wants IT banned in the country. Considering that almost everyone seems to loves director Andy Muschietti’s Stephen King adaptation, it’s a bit surprising to see a fast food chain launch an attack on the film. Yet, that’s exactly what’s happening, as Burger King Russia joins struggling real-life clowns in opposing IT, albeit for very different reasons.
According to THR, Burger King Russia has officially filed a complaint with the country’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), arguing that IT should be banned. For those wondering why a restaurant is choosing to go to war with a popular movie, Burger King Russia believes that IT’s Pennywise the Dancing Clown bears a noticeable resemblance to McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald, thus essentially making Muschietti’s film a giant advertisement for their biggest competitor.
While many are likely to read the above and scoff at the notion that anyone would actually take the idea of Pennywise as a stealth ad for McDonald’s seriously, a spokeswoman for the FAS confirms that the agency has indeed received Burger King Russia’s complaint, and are currently evaluating it as they would any other complaint that had been filed with them. It’s hard to imagine that Russia will actually ban IT, but it can’t be said that stranger things haven’t happened. If this scenario were to occur, one wonders if angry Russian moviegoers would lodge their own protests over no longer being allowed to see the film.
As silly as Burger King Russia’s complaint might seem, they are of course not the first to draw parallels between Pennywise and Ronald, although most of these comparisons have involved the classic Tim Curry version of the character. There exist multiple well-traveled memes online pitting the two clowns against each other, with some even jokingly suggesting that Ronald has in fact claimed more victims than Pennywise. One popular means to combine the two is to play off of the McDonald’s slogan I’m Lovin’ It, by using photo editing to insert Pennywise into Ronald’s place, then changing It into IT. This digital swap has even spawned T-shirts bearing the same image.
At the end of the day, Burger King Russia’s call for IT to be banned may not matter much to the film’s bottom line. The film has already been playing at theaters in the country since September 7, racking up $14 million in ticket sales. Plus, the FAS’ investigation into the matter could take months, months in which IT would continue being available to Russian viewers. One wonders if it might be some type of publicly stunt designed to get eyes on Burger King, but there would definitely be much better ways to accomplish that, as most Russians seem quite unimpressed with the company’s actions.
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