Paramount Pictures is the latest Hollywood studio to pause the theatrical release of its upcoming films in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine last week.
“As we witness the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, we have decided to pause the theatrical release of our upcoming films in Russia, including ‘The Lost City,’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’.”
“We stand by all those impacted by the humanitarian crisis across Ukraine, Russia, and our international markets and will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds,” a studio spokesperson said in a statement, reports variety.com.
Universal joined the boycott later on Tuesday, meaning the five major Hollywood studios have officially cut off their movies from Russia for the time being. Universal doesn’t have a big release until Michael Bay’s ‘Ambulance’ opens in April.
“In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Universal Pictures has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a Universal Pictures spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this week, Disney, Sony and Warner Bros similarly announced they will not allow new movies, such as ‘Turning Red’, ‘Morbius’, and ‘The Batman’, to play in Russian movie theatres “in light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”.
For now, several Hollywood titles that have already premiered in Russia, including Sony’s video game adaptation ‘Uncharted’ and Disney‘s murder mystery ‘Death on the Nile’, will continue to play there through the end of their agreed licensing period.
Russia is not a make-or-break theatrical territory, but recent big-budget blockbusters have been successful in the country.
For example, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ generated a robust $44 million there, and ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ made $32 million in the country, making it the second-biggest market for that movie following North America.
‘Uncharted’ and ‘Death on the Nile‘, the two newest Hollywood releases, have grossed $9 million and $6.7 million, respectively.
Across the entertainment industry, companies have been debating the prospect of releasing content in Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine by military forces. Also on Monday, Netflix said it will not carry the 20 Russian free-to-air propaganda channels that the streamer could be required to host under Russian law.
Like Paramount, which said it “will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds”, other studios have shared intentions to keep a watchful eye on “the evolving situation”.
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” a Disney spokesperson said on 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 to refugees.”