Disney has paused all theatrical productions in Russia, including the upcoming Pixar movie Turning Red, citing the “unexplained invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis.
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolution of the situation,” Disney said Monday. “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.”
Turning Red, a family movie about a girl who turns into a red panda when she’s excited, was scheduled to premiere in Russia On March 10.
Several major blockbusters are slated to release worldwide soon, including Warner Bros.’ superhero movie The Batman, which was due to be released on Friday in Russia. A few hours after Disney’s decision was announced, Warner Bros. He said: “In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia has temporarily halted the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops. We hope for a speedy and peaceful resolution of this tragedy.”
After Disney and Warner Bros., Sony Pictures announced that it would also discontinue all of its theatrical releases in Russia, including Morbius, which stars Jared Leto’s Marvel antihero and was scheduled to open on March 24.
“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be discontinuing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming Morbius,” a Sony Pictures spokesperson said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and we hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”
Other Warner Bros films due to be released in Russia soon include Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore on April 14, and DC League of Super-Pets on May 19.
This news comes as confirmed by Netflix You will refuse to broadcast Russian government propagandain the face of the law that comes into force in the country on March 1.
Broadcasting services with more than 100,000 daily users are required by law to broadcast 20 major Russian federal television channels, many of which broadcast Kremlin propaganda.
“Due to the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson The Hollywood Reporter. Netflix declined to comment on whether the war had an impact on its expansion plans in Russia.
Over the weekend, the Ukrainian Film Academy created an online petition calling for a boycott of Russian cinema and the Russian film industry in the wake of the invasion.
While it’s not a significant market for Hollywood releases, Russia is significant enough, with $601 million at the box office in 2021, or about 2.8% of worldwide ticket sales, which totaled $21.4 billion, according to Inc. Comscore.
Over the past decade, Disney has increasingly targeted Russian audiences with films made for the domestic market, with Disney Russia in December releasing The Last Warrior: A Messenger of Darkness. The third film in the popular fantasy series, it became the ninth highest-grossing domestic language release of all time in Russia.
The Hollywood Reporter previously reported that several studio executives are grappling with the Russian issue, as the United States and its European allies impose economic sanctions. “If the United States and its allies want to isolate Russia from the rest of the world, how are we going to go ahead and release our films there?” One of the studio executives told the outlet.
Reuters contributed to this report
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