Warner Bros. is halting the release of ‘The Batman’ in Russia, just days before it was to open in theatres there, as Hollywood moved to hit pause on distribution plans in the country in light of the crisis with Ukraine.
Warner Bros., the Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures said Monday that they would “pause” the release of their films for now. Each studio has significant upcoming releases that had been set to debut internationally in the coming weeks. ‘The Batman,’ one of the year’s more anticipated films, launches Thursday in the UAE and many overseas territories, including Russia, the following day.
A spokesperson for the studio said in a statement: “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution....”
Warner Bros.’ move closely followed a similar decision by the Walt Disney Co. The studio had planned to open the Pixar film ‘Turning Red’ in Russia on March 10. That film is going straight to Disney+ in the US. Before Disney’s announcement, Warner Bros. had been expected to proceed with the Russian release of ‘The Batman.’
On Saturday, the Ukrainian Film Academy called for an international boycott of the Russian film industry.
Russia is not a leading market for Hollywood, but the country typically ranks in the top dozen countries globally in box office. Sony’s recent smash hit ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ which has totaled $1.85 billion in ticket sales worldwide, has grossed $46.7 million in Russia. Sony’s most recent chart-topping release, the Tom Holland adventure ‘Uncharted,’ has amassed about $20 million in Russia over the last two weeks.
After the Disney and Warner Bros. made their announcements, Sony followed suit saying it was pausing the release of ‘Morbius’, referencing the Spider-Man spinoff opening in early April. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”