Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the start of the war have affected all sectors, including the cultural sector, which in its condemnation of Putin’s maneuvers is beginning to take pressure and protest measures. Hollywood has joined these actions, and the big studios have decided to cancel their big premieres on Russian territory. The most important is the batman, the long-awaited film by Matt Reeves with Robert Pattinson as the superhero and which was scheduled to hit Russian theaters on March 3. 48 hours after that date, Warner Bros has announced that it is withdrawing the premiere and other of its big bets of the year.
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“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia has halted the release of batman in Russia,” the company announced in a statement that also clarifies that this could change as the conflict evolves. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We look forward to a swift and peaceful resolution of this tragedy.”
For Warner this conflict may mean the delay of two other of its great releases of 2022. On April 14 the new installment of the universe of Harry PotterFantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets; and on May 19 the animated film DC League of Super Pets. It follows the path set by Disney, which was the first Hollywood studio to apply these measures and also announced that it “will make future business decisions” and that it will provide humanitarian assistance through other collaborating NGOs.
“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are stopping the release of films in Russia, including turn red, Pixar,” a Walt Disney Co. spokesman said in a statement.. Turning Red had a premiere scheduled for next March 10 in Russia. In its announcement, the company has not made it clear what will happen to its large block buster of the year, the expected doctor strange in the multiverse of madness, which should arrive on May 5, and the spin off from toy story focused on Buzz Lightyear whose date is set for June 16. The decision will mean a considerable loss in income for distributors, since Russia is one of the areas outside the US where films show better results. For example, the recent Spider.Man: We Way Home managed to exceed 44 million dollars since its premiere in December. According to Comscore, the Russian market accounts for 2.8% of the total world box office.
Warner and Disney have not been the only ones. Sony will not release either Morbius, his film about one of the Spider-Man villains, which should be released on March 24 and which, for the moment, will not reach Russian cinemas. In another statement, the company showed its solidarity. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected and we hope that this crisis will be quickly resolved,” the press release said. Now the eyes are on the other majors that they have not yet clarified what they will do and that they have films in the near future, such as Lost City and the second part of Sonicboth from Paramount.
The Motion Picture Association, which looks after the interests of the studios, issued an official statement: “The Motion Picture Association supports the international community in upholding the rule of law and condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On behalf of our member companies, which are leaders in the film, television and streaming, We express our strongest support for the vibrant creative community in Ukraine who, like all people, deserve to live and work in peace.”
Netfllix has also announced measures, and will not comply with the new Russian audiovisual law, which requires the platform to include twenty public channels in order to operate in the country and whose entry into force was scheduled for March 1. Among the outlets that should get on Netflix were Kremlin-affiliated outlets such as Channel One, the entertainment network NTV and the Orthodox Church Channel.