Hollywood studios suspend release of films in Russia on its escalated offense against Ukraine
Russia has yet again faced another setback, this time in the entertainment industry after global giant film studios paused their operations amidst Vladimir Putin’s intensified offense against Ukraine.
Firms like Warner Bros, Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures announced that their films would be “paused” in Russia.
This means the releases of major movies like The Batman, Turning Red and Morbius will not proceed as scheduled in the country.
In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a spokesperson said.
“We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy,” said WarnerMedia.
These moves come at a time when countries all around the world are tightening their sanctions against Moscow. Global firms, including automakers and oil conglomerates, have severed economic connections with Russia in recent days.
The action by Warner Bros. was shortly followed by a similar one by Walt Disney Co. on Monday. Turning Red, a Pixar film, was scheduled to be released in Russia on March 10, 2022, according to the company but the film will go straight to disney+
In the United States, Warner Bros. was expected to proceed with the Russian release of The Batman before Disney’s news.
The entertainment giant added that it would work with its non-governmental organisations to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees,” it added.
Sony has also halted the release of its Marvel adaptation Morbius in the country.
“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia,” Sony a spokesperson told the BBC.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly,” they added.
The Motion Picture Association (MPA) said on Monday that it “stands with the international community in upholding the rule of law and condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
“On behalf of our member companies, who lead the film, TV and streaming industry, we express our strongest support for Ukraine’s vibrant creative community who, like all people, deserve to live and work peacefully,” the MPA said in a statement.
Although Russia is not a major market for Hollywood, it consistently ranks among the top dozen nations in the world in terms of box office receipts.
Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sony’s latest big hit with Ksh.204 million in worldwide ticket sales, has grossed Ksh.5.3 billion ($46.7 million) in Russia.
Over the last two weeks, Sony’s most recent chart-topping title, the Tom Holland adventure Uncharted, has made nearly Ksh.2.2 billion (US$20 million) in Russia.