Disney and Warner Bros. will halt movie releases in Russia
How long is the break for studios? It was unclear. Given the marketing runway required to release the films in theaters, Disney’s action will almost certainly affect the other two films. They are Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, scheduled for release in Russia on May 5, and the animated “Bob’s Burgers”, scheduled for May 26. Warner’s upcoming films include “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” and “DC League of Super Pets.”
Both companies have additional operations in Russia. For example, Disney has a Disney Channel and Touring Stage Productions. Disney did not address any of them in its statement. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” the statement said. Disney said it was working with unspecified partner organizations to provide “immediate assistance and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”
Russia is a small box-office market. According to film industry database IMDBpro, “Free Guy” was Disney’s top release last year. It collected $11.2 million in Russia, about 3 percent of its worldwide gross of $331.5 million.
Before the pandemic, Russia was the number 9 market for Hollywood outside the United States, according to the Motion Picture Association. Ticket sales for American-made films in Russia totaled approximately $900 million in 2019. 1 overseas market, China, totaled $9.3 billion in sales for Hollywood in 2019.
The Motion Picture Association, which lobbies around the world for Netflix, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., issued a statement Monday night condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “On behalf of our member companies that lead the film, TV and streaming industries, we express our strongest support to Ukraine’s vibrant creative community, which, like all people, deserves to live and work in peace. Huh.”
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