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Winnie the Pooh and Friends
Credit: D23

Disney Loses Rights to Winnie the Pooh: Famous Actor Jumps at the Opportunity

2022 has arrived! Just before we rang in the New Year, we sadly said goodbye to Disney Legend Betty White. At Walt Disney World Resort we are counting down the days of the remaining pieces of Disney’s Magical Express to end… and now Winnie the Pooh and friends are in trouble!

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

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It may seem odd, but when 2022 rolled around, Disney lost select rights to Winnie the Pooh. That’s right, according to USA Today, characters that appeared in Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne that were based on Milne’s son Christopher Robin and his stuffed animals, including Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, and Roo are now public domain.

Disney acquired the rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh books and their characters from Milne’s estate back in 1961 and Disney has turned the franchise into a multibillion-dollar industry. Now, Disney won’t be able to sue anyone that uses A.A. Milne’s original Winnie-the-Pooh stories. This means Pooh bear and his friends are open to new adaptations and projects.

If someone uses Disney’s version of Winnie the Pooh and friends, however, then yes, Disney can sue the creator of the content, as Disney’s adaptation of the characters has been trademarked.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

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Ryan Reynolds was very aware of the loss of rights and decided to make the most out of Disney’s loss. Reynolds is a well-known actor in films such as Deadpool, Red Notice, and Free Guy, but is also the current owner of Mint Mobile which is an American telecommunications company that sells mobile phone services.

The Mint Mobile website quotes Reynolds with, “While every other tech titan is off chasing rockets, I’ll corner the budget-friendly wireless sector. Like most people, I only use rockets 10-12 times a year but I use my mobile service every day.”

Ryan Reynolds (Image Credit: Reynolds Facebook)
Image Credit: Ryan Reynolds Facebook

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Reynolds took to YouTube to create his very own book called, “Winnie-the-Screwed” stating, “Yesterday the original book featuring Winnie-the-Pooh entered the public domain. Took some creative liberties but it sticks pretty close to the source material. Just added #MintMobile and changed ‘honey’ to ‘money’ really… https://www.mintmobile.com”. Check out the video below:

As if losing select rights to Winnie the Pooh and friends is bad enough, copyright protections are currently set to expire in two years for Steamboat Willie which is the earliest version of Mickey Mouse.

Will Disney try to buy back the Winnie the Pooh rights or can we expect to see more adaptations in the future such as this “Winnie-the-Screwed”?

About Mike and Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with Disney Vacation Club and RunDisney events in particular. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire a magic band of every style while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 16 years and are blessed with a daughter and a son who have already learned the importance of planning ahead! As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.