Patterico's Pontifications

3/1/2022

Least Surprising Story of the Week: Hollywood to Continue Doing Business in Russia [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

UPDATE 3/2/22, 8:30 am
To follow-up on Rip Murdock’s comment from late last night, several Hollywood studios have swung into action and cancelled plans for Russian premiers. Warner Bros., Universal, and Paramount are among those who are withholding their films from the Russian market, and several film and television festivals in Europe have disinvited Russian entries. Many of the nations allied against the Russian aggression have also suspended RT, the Russian news channel, with both DirecTV and Google no longer carrying the channel in their feeds.

Also, in a welcome development, Channel 4 in the United Kingdom will begin airing episodes of Servant of the People, the comedy show which led to the political career of the lead actor and now Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The international rights to the series had been acquired by a Swedish production company, who has also licensed it for viewing in Greece, Romania, and the Middle East.

——– Original Post ——–
Los Angeles Magazine has the details:

Even as the western world tries to dissuade Russia from continuing its invasion of Ukraine through sanctions meant to cripple its economy, Hollywood is still hungry to make whatever money it can by continuing to release its most hotly-anticipated pictures to moviegoers in the aggressor nation.

First on the slate for Russian audiences is Warner Bros.’ The Batman, which is set to start the studio’s worldwide release with a March 3 opening day in Russia. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has no plans to pull the pic despite an appeal this weekend by the Ukrainian Film Academy for studios to boycott Russian cinema.

In an online petition, the Academy is asking producers to stop licensing their films and series for Russia, for international festivals to ban Russian films from inclusion, and for international producers to end all business dealings with Russian companies.

[. . .]

Warner Bros. — which did not return requests for comment from Los Angeles — is hardly alone in its Russian cash-grab. In fact, it’s hard to find a studio that’s not planning to send their best to Russia with love in the coming weeks.

A small sampling of American-Russian coming attractions include: Disney’s Turning Red on March 10; Sony’s Morbius and DreamWorks/Universal’s The Bad Guys on March 24; Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 30WEST’s Chris Pine actioner The Contractor on March 31; Universal’s Michael Bay explosion, Ambulance, and Paramount’s The Lost City on April 7, plus the next installment of Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts franchise on April 14.

Happily, this piece has since been updated with an announcement by Disney that the studio no longer plans to open Turning Red in Russia next week. It will be interesting to see if this guilt-shames Sony, Universal, and the rest into following suit, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Remember this next time the Hollywood elite pompously announces that they won’t film in some state because of its “repressive” abortion or voting laws. Be ready for the entertainment mafia to don colorful ribbons in support of Ukraine on their tuxedos and gowns later this month at their vapid and increasingly unwatched big awards show, and expect a winner or two to say something mawkish and insincere about stopping the war in Ukraine in their acceptance speech, but know that at the end of the day they’ll take the rubles over the ethics almost all of the time.

– JVW

14 Responses to “Least Surprising Story of the Week: Hollywood to Continue Doing Business in Russia [Updated]”

  1. On the bright side, the Hollywood Reporter article does indicate that there is serious discussion within the studios as to whether they shouldn’t pull back from doing business in Russia right now. Maybe Disney’s decision will shock the rest of them into behaving sensibly, but I’m guessing they are playing for time and hoping all of this has blown over within the next couple of weeks so that at the very worst they only need to delay the scheduled Russian movie premiers by a week or two.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. Hollywood – last to the party, of course. Probably too busy scolding their audience on climate warming or gender identification.

    Hoi Polloi (093fb9)

  3. Hollywood – last to the party, of course.

    Last? Some lost dudes show up early– like 1982, and never cfind their way home:

    Sean Penn is in Ukraine, working on a documentary

    (CNN)-Actor and filmmaker Sean Penn is in Ukraine, attending press conferences and meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky as Russia begins its invasion of the Eastern European country. – CNN.com

    “Well, I’ll tell you Stu, I did battle some humongous waves! But you know, just like I told the guy on ABC, “Danger is my business!” ” – Jeff Spicoli [Sean Penn] ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ 1982

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  4. @1. You know what they do, JVW, is move business ops to a satellite office in a nearby country and work on alternative methods of distribution- though gadget masters like Netflix and so forth are icing out Russian access for the immediate now. Though the way studios penny-pinch on undertheline overhead, any personnel are likely working out of London digs for a quarter or two until they do some creative bookkeeping or just sheve product for a time. But as soon as the dust settles, they’ll be back at it- along w/Coca-Cola and McDonald’s and Baskin Robbins.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  5. What the Academy could do, but won’t: Announce that no film distributed in Russia after 1 March is eligible for any award.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  6. This belongs on the ‘Hollywood Thread’:

    There is comedy in tragedy–

    When asked about his good get w/Zelinsky, a CNN reporter said on air, “We interviewed President Zelenskyy in a secret location– at his underground bunker somewhere in the center of Kyiv.”

    =rimshot=
    ____

    When asked in the interview what President Biden should say in his State of the Union speech this evening, Zelenskyy’s deadpan response: “Something useful.”

    =rimshot=

    Once a comedian; always a comedian.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  7. The president of mexico refuses to support sanctions on russia says he wants good relations with putin and his banks are open for business with russia.

    asset (3d4b83)

  8. The president of mexico refuses to support sanctions on russia says he wants good relations with putin and his banks are open for business with russia.

    Check the corruption index; Mexico is right down there with Russia… and Ukraine. So you’ve got Capone and Moran shooting it out– and now we’ve heard from ‘El Chapo.’ 😉

    https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2020/index/ukr

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  9. MLB cancels 2022 Opening Day, games will be lost to labor dispute for first time since 1995 -USAToday.com

    Now America’s ‘oligarchs’ have robbed us of our baseball. Covid, inflation, masks, open borders, Red Olympics… wars… and now, stolen bases!!! And they play in taxpayer financed stadiums!!!!!

    Storm the castle!

    😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  10. Here’s my cartoon tip of the cap to Jim Miller:

    https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/bagley/2022/03/01/bagley-cartoon-early/

    All too true.

    Hmm. Which leader in the U.S. doesn’t seem to like a free press? The name escapes me.

    norcal (5948da)

  11. Ukraine conflict: Disney, Warner, Sony halt release of films in Russia
    ………
    Warner Bros blockbuster The Batman was due to be released in Russia on Friday.
    “In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

    Meanwhile, Disney has delayed the Russian release of the Pixar animated film, Turning Red.
    “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia,” Disney said in a statement.
    ………
    Sony has also halted the release of its Marvel adaptation Morbius in the country.
    ………
    Meanwhile, Netflix has said that it will not comply with new Russian rules to carry state-backed channels.
    “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
    ………
    Related:

    Roku Joins DirecTV In Removing RT America In Wake Of Russian Invasion Of Ukraine — Update

    UPDATE, 5:08 PM PT: Roku is removing RT from all of its channel stores, including those in the United States, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    A Roku spokesperson confirmed the decision on Tuesday.

    The announcement follows DirecTV’s decision to drop RT America, which is the sister network of Russia Today.

    Roku had previously announced that it was removing RT from its European channel stores.
    …………
    DirecTV already had been reviewing the value of RT America as part of a review of contracts up for expiration this year. RT America’s contract was up mid-year, but DirecTV moved up the timeline given the recent events in Ukraine, the spokesperson said.
    ……….
    Among the offerings on RT America was a show featuring comedian Dennis Miller, Dennis Miller+ One and another featuring William Shatner, I Don’t Understand with William Shatner. The company that produces the shows said on Tuesday that it would suspend production of shows for the outlet via T&R Productions, tasked with operations for RT in the U.S.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (d67a00)

  12. UPDATE 3/2/22, 8:30 am
    To follow-up on Rip Murdock’s comment from late last night, several Hollywood studios have swung into action and cancelled plans for Russian premiers. Warner Bros., Universal, and Paramount are among those who are withholding their films from the Russian market, and several film and television festivals in Europe have disinvited Russian entries. Many of the nations allied against the Russian aggression have also suspended RT, the Russian news channel, with both DirecTV and Google no longer carrying the channel in their feeds.

    Also, in a welcome development, Channel 4 in the United Kingdom will begin airing episodes of Servant of the People, the comedy show which led to the political career of the lead actor and now Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The international rights to the series had been acquired by a Swedish production company, who has also licensed it for viewing in Greece, Romania, and the Middle East.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  13. Low hanging fruit for studios….they’ll gain good virtue for not that much financial cost

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  14. All five major studios have now announced Russian boycotts:

    Five Major Film Studios Pause Russian Releases As Entertainment Industry Reacts To Ukraine Invasion

    A spokesperson for Universal Pictures told Deadline the company “has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia,” though they did not mention specific titles.

    Paramount Pictures said Tuesday that The Lost City and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will not be released in Russia.

    The Cannes Film Festival said Tuesday that “unless the war of assault ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people,” Russian delegations or “anyone linked to the Russian government” would be barred from the May festival, according to Variety.
    ………
    The Russian box office brings in considerably less money than the U.S. market does. In 2021, the best week at the domestic box office earned roughly $451 million, and the best week at the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States box office brought in roughly $20 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
    ……..

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)


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