In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine Disney decided to take a stand. On Monday evening, the company released a statement explaining that it will not be releasing its films there for the foreseeable future, starting from pixar blushes. Then, a few hours later, Warner Bros. did the same for Batman.
“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are suspending the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming blushes from Pixar,” said statement released by Disney. “We will make future business decisions depending on how the situation develops. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide emergency relief and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”
blushes was supposed to be released in Russia on March 10, the day before the US release. it’s coming to Disney+ while many international markets were still receiving a full theatrical release. After that, Disney has nearly two full months without a theatrical release, with the next one coming in May with Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness. Then follows Light year in June and Thor: Love and Thunder in July.
Disney was the first studio to take this position in Russia, and then Warner Bros. joined a few hours later. The company announced on Monday evening that the release of “Batman” in Russia will not take place. “In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is suspending the release of its feature film Batman in Russia, and WarnerMedia statement read. “We will continue to monitor the development of the situation. We look forward to a speedy and peaceful resolution of this tragedy.”
These gestures are powerful, but ultimately do not represent a huge loss of money. Variety reports that even a huge success in Russia usually accounts for only a small percentage of a film’s box office performance abroad. For example, Spiderman: No Way Home became a huge hit there, grossing an estimated $45 million. To date, however, this is only a fraction of the film’s total international gross of almost $1.1 billion.
However, the optics of these moves and the strong support they show for Ukraine is certainly more important than any money that may or may not be made on future films. Good job Mickey Mouse and the Caped Crusader
Update February 28, 2022 9:39 pm ET: This post has been updated to include the Warner Bros. Batman.
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