[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.