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Alibaba is Making a Peppa Pig Film for Chinese New Year

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She’s the pig that launched a thousand memes. Now, despite her gangster-affiliated past in China, tech giant Alibaba’s film arm has agreed a deal with One Entertainment UK to produce a Peppa Pig movie.

According to a screenshot of the approval released by media outlet 36kr (pictured below), the film will center around Peppa’s experience at Chinese New Year, with the whole family finding out about traditional Spring Festival customs. Presumably that means hammering away at a phone screen to grab digital hongbao, overeating with relatives, and ignoring then complaining about most of the CCTV Spring Festival Gala.

Next year is, of course, the Year of the Pig, plus Peppa Pig is huge in China, so this seems like a no-brainer for box office success.

But what makes this especially interesting is Peppa Pig’s history in China. The cute cartoon piglet originally created for the BBC can be seen all over clothing and toys, but also spawned a panoply of Peppa Pig memes earlier this year:

Peppa Pig Has Spawned a Panoply of Chinese Memes

These went from fairly innocent shrugs at the world, to expressing more emo attitudes, to ultimately becoming embroiled in more subversive “gangster” memes that Party mouthpiece Global Times claimed “experts” felt could “hamper positive societal morale”.

This in turn led to rumors of a Peppa Pig ban on hugely popular short video app Douyin, which subsequently led to international headlines about China “banning” Peppa Pig (a misleading take which has similarities with Winnie the Pooh right now):

Douyin: Rumors of “Peppa Pig” Ban are “False”

No wonder Ali and Entertainment One appear keen to stress the traditional family values for their upcoming movie. We look forward to the memes it will inevitably inspire.

Update: In a statement confirming the news, Alibaba Pictures president Wei Zhang said: “The ‘Peppa Pig’ series emphasizes the importance of family values, and that is something that will deeply resonate with Chinese audiences. We hope this family film will pave the way for further development of films for young audiences in China.”

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