Media giant Warner Bros. announced this week that it will be pulling all theatrical film releases from Russia in response to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As The Hollywood Reporter noted, the studio released a statement explaining their decision, specifically regarding the imminent release of its latest, hotly anticipated blockbuster, “The Batman.”
“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” said the statement, “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.”
As the New York Post reported, the latest, much-hyped Batman reboot, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz, was to be released in Russia on March 1. (The film opens in the United States on March 4.) Other Warner Bros. titles that were slated for theatrical release in Russia include “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (April 14) and the cartoon, “DC League of Super-Pets” (May 19).
Disney had already started making Russian release decisions, recently pulling the Pixar film, “Turning Red,” among other upcoming features.
Their press statement on the matter read: “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis. We are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”
As the Post previously reported, Sony Pictures followed Disney in pausing theatrical releases of its productions in Russia, including the upcoming vampire thriller, “Morbius.”
The Hollywood Reporter noted that Russia is one of the top box office markets in the world. Sony’s recent massive hit, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has brought in more than $44.5 million since opening in Russia in December.
Yahoo Entertainment also reported that Paramount Pictures has followed suit by yanking Russian distribution of two highly anticipated upcoming features – the adventure comedy, “The Lost City," starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, and the animated sequel, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.”
Paramount’s press release about the decision echoed the other studio’s concerns. “As we witness the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine,” said the statement, “we have decided to pause the theatrical release of our upcoming films in Russia, including ‘The Lost City,’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2.’ We stand by all those impacted by the humanitarian crisis across Ukraine, Russia, and our international markets and will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.”
Yahoo further reported that the Motion Picture Association as a whole condemned the Russian attack.
These film world responses to the invasion have followed on the heels of similar reactions from across the pop culture spectrum.
Last weekend's SAG Awards ceremony was filled with artists making statements or wearing colors in support of the Ukrainian people -- right after the SAG-AFTRA union (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) expressed their support for Ukraine and condemnation of the invasion.
FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) indefinitely banned Russian football teams from international play, including this year’s World Cup.
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