Hollywood studios, Disney, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures Entertainment said they would pause theatrical releases of upcoming films in Russia.
They said this was in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
The Walt Disney Company said it was pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, starting with the upcoming Pixar Animation Studios release, “Turning Red.”
WarnerMedia said it would pause this week’s release of “The Batman” in Russia within hours.
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” Disney said in a statement.
“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.”
Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine, “we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of Morbius,” a Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Over the weekend, the Ukrainian Film Academy created an online petition that called for an international boycott of Russian cinema and the Russian film industry following the invasion.
According to Comscore, Russia remained a significant market for Hollywood, accounting for 601 million dollars in the box office in 2021, or about 2.8 percent of worldwide ticket sales, totaling $21.4 billion in 2021.
Several notable films were slated for global release, “The Batman,” scheduled to open in Russia on March 3 as part of a worldwide roll-out, and Paramount Pictures’ “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” which made its global debut on April 8.
WarnerMedia said it would continue to monitor the situation as it awaited “a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”
One Hollywood trade publication reported that studio executives were wrestling with the Russia question and that the U.S. and its European allies enacted economic sanctions.
“If the U.S. and its allies want to cut off Russia from the rest of the world, then how will we go ahead and release our movies there?” one studio executive told The Hollywood Reporter.
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