Major Hollywood studios Warner Bros, Disney, and Sony have decided to hold the release of their films The Batman, Turning Red, and Morbius, respectively, in Russia in view of the country’s war against Ukraine.
Disney was the first major studio to announce it was pausing its Russian releases. “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming Turning Red from Pixar,” a Walt Disney spokesperson said in a statement and added that all future business decisions would be based on the evolving situation.
Warner Bros followed suit and pulled the Russian release of The Batman soon after Disney’s announcement. “In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia. We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy,” said a statement from the studio.
The Batman is the latest superhero film based on the character from DC Comics. Previous film adaptations based on the comics have done well at the Russian box office. For instance, DC and Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984, which was released at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, had witnessed a boost in its international collections after its release in Russia.
Sony also announced that it was halting releases in the country. A Sony spokesperson said, “Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of Morbius.”
The Jared Leto-starrer is the next collaboration between Sony Pictures and Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment, after the success of their last venture, Spider-Man: No Way Home. It is notable that No Way Home saw opening weekend collections of over $14 million in Russia, and went on to rake in $44.5 million over 10 weeks in the country.
The move from the Hollywood studios comes in addition to the heavy economic sanctions levied on Russia by countries around the world and the widespread condemnation of Russia’s escalation of the aggression in Ukraine.
UPDATE: Netflix, on Wednesday, announced that it is temporarily pausing all future projects and acquisitions in Russia, including those in post-production, like the detective drama Zato. The streaming platform also defied Russian law by not adding state-run channels to its service in the country.
Earlier, on Tuesday, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures also joined the bandwagon of major studios sending a message to Russia by stalling the release of their films in the country.