Media

Entertainment companies say nyet to Russia

Disney, Netflix, and Warner Bros. pause projects and releases amid the invasion of Ukraine.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Netflix will no longer chill in Russia.

The streaming giant, which had four Russian originals in the works, has reportedly halted all future projects and acquisitions in the country amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The pause is one of several moves by entertainment giants as they weigh their current and future business arrangements in the country. Most of those decisions have been made at the Russian box office:

  • Disney paused Russian releases of upcoming theatrical films, including the animated Pixar film Turning Red.
  • Warner Bros. halted the Russian release of The Batman, which was slated to open there on Thursday.
  • Sony said it would postpone all theatrical releases, including the film Morbius.
  • Paramount Pictures said it would pause the theatrical debut of upcoming films, like The Lost City and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in Russia.
  • Universal Pictures announced on Tuesday that it had “paused planned theatrical releases” in the country.

A unified front: The global entertainment industry is making other moves signaling their objection to the invasion and their support of Ukraine. The Stockholm International Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival said they would ban Russian state-backed film organizations, while European TV company Banijay placed a freeze on all activity in Russia “until further notice.” The Motion Picture Association, the trade group and lobbying arm that represents most major film studios, issued a statement expressing its “strongest support for Ukraine’s vibrant creative community, who, like all people, deserve to live and work peacefully.”

Box-office breakdown: The Russian box office grossed $445 million in 2021, according to Box Office Mojo, but its size pales in comparison to other major markets around the world. The US box office grossed nearly $4.5 billion in the same year, while China, the largest box office in the world, exceeded $6.2 billion.—KS

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