The latest Winnie the Pooh film comes out today, marking the fifth time Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and friends have appeared in a feature-length movie. But the inhabitants of the Hundred-Acre Wood aren't just movie stars: Since A.A. Milne introduced the world to Christopher Robin's animal buddies with his 1926 book Winnie-the-Pooh, the characters have appeared on chinaware, baby bibs, vitamin bottles, and much, much more. In 2004, the characters came in second in a Forbes list of the top-earning fictional characters—just a hair behind Mickey Mouse and company—with a $5.6 billion annual income.
How did Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, et al transform from introspective children's literary characters to brand ambassadors for everything from paper dolls to bandages? Here, a timeline of key moments in Winnie the Pooh's long march to cultural domination:
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