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Further Russian restrictions could deal blow to Hollywood movies

Further Russian restrictions could deal blow to Hollywood movies
Still from Russia’s submission for the 89th Academy Awards Paradise (2016), dir. Andrei Konchalovsky

9 June 2017

Following a slew of proposed laws designed to support Russia’s domestic film industry, the Russian Ministry of Culture has proposed a bill that could hurt Hollywood’s success in the country further: a new law that would ban any single film from making up more than 35% of all screenings on any given day.

The ministry dubbed the legislation necessary to “ensure diversity of movies available in theatres”.

However, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, the proposal more likely aims to bolster the ministry’s attempts to advantage the local film industry by restricting the presence of Hollywood movies in Russian cinemas, which currently account for far more than 35% of screenings. The report cites as an example Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which came out in Russia on 25 May and represented 56% of all screenings in the country during the first week of its release.

The move has caused dismay among local distributors, who believe that the consequences of the bill have not been duly considered.

“Hollywood blockbusters, which viewers want to watch, are leaders not only in the number of screenings, but also in gross per screening,” Anastasia Sergeyeva, executive director of the distribution company Volga, told The Hollywood Reporter, also commenting that long queues to see Hollywood films and empty auditoriums for other movies will be a certain consequence of the bill, if it is signed into law.

The proposed legislation is the latest in a series of bills designed to bolster the domestic film industry. In recent years, Russian films have attracted extremely low viewing rates compared to their US counterparts. According to Communist MP and film director Vladimir Bortko, 156 Russian films were shown in Russian cinemas in 2016, but they accounted for just 18% of film audiences. Last month Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky told lawmakers that cinemagoers should pay more to watch Hollywood films.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter