Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has displaced thousands and wreaked havoc on innocent people. The international community is forced to reckon with how to treat Russia. Major movie studios appear to be on the same page: no new releases. Warner Bros. is following its competitors in a boycott.
A Lucrative Territory
The first major movie studio to draw a line in the sand with Russia was Disney. On Monday, it announced it would cease movie releases in the country. “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,” the company said in a statement.
This isn’t a cheap decision to make, especially for Disney and Sony. Spider-Man: No Way Home has earned over $44.5 million in Russia since its release in December. However, the unprovoked attack on Ukraine makes this money utterly frivolous in the grand scheme of things.
Sony’s Officially Out
Between No Way Home and Uncharted, Sony had a few films in Russian theaters last week that have since been pulled. In light of Russia’s actions, the company is also pulling its upcoming films Morbius, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Lost City from Russian release. A Sony spokesperson said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”
Batman Won’t See Release
Just two days before its anticipated Russian release, WarnerMedia announced The Batman will not be released in Russia for the time being. A spokesperson said, “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.”
Warner’s other upcoming films include April’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and May’s DC League of Super-Pets. There’s no way of knowing how long this unprovoked invasion will remain ongoing, but Warner is temporarily committed to keeping those titles out of Russia as well.
Layers To The Decision
One would hope the prime motivating factor for these decisions would be the senseless loss of life in Ukraine, but that’s not exactly the whole story. Europe has issued loads of sanctions on Russia, while Switzerland is now blocking access to bank accounts. Specifically, the European Union has decided to eject Russia from SWIFT, the global banking system.
Without the system in place, it may be impossible for movie studios to get their money from Russian partners. The banking block likely made the decision to halt Russian movie releases easier than it already was.