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Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. pause movie releases in Russia including ‘The Batman’

By Kara Santos Published Mar 01, 2022 3:23 pm

Major Hollywood studios are pulling theatrical releases from Russia temporarily in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Warner Bros. announced that the highly anticipated The Batman starring Robert Pattinson, which was set to open on March 3, will be paused temporarily.

“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 Bros. said in a statement late Monday.

Other upcoming Warner Bros. films slated for release in Russia include Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (April 14) and the animated DC League of Super-Pets (May 19).

Deadline reports that Disney was the first Hollywood studio to take a stand, issuing an economic ban against a major box office market. As per figures from Box Office Mojo, Russia minted more than $445M at the box office last year and as much as $1.3 billion in 2013. 

The most recent MCU title, Spider-Man: No Way Home from Sony, reportedly grossed close to $45M in Russia.

“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 spokesperson from The Walt Disney Company said in an official statement on Monday (Feb. 28).

Turning Red was slated to open March 10. Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was set to kick off summer on May 6, while Lightyear was originally scheduled for a June 16 release.

“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.”

Following Disney's announcement, Sony soon followed suit and stated that they would be pausing the release of its films in Russia including the high-profile Marvel film Morbius, starring Jared Leto.

“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,” a Sony spokesperson said late Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) issued its first statement in solidarity with Ukraine and the international community condemning Russia's invasion on Monday night.

“The Motion Picture Association stands with the international community in upholding the rule of law and condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On behalf of our member companies, who lead the film, TV and streaming industry, we express our strongest support for Ukraine’s vibrant creative community who, like all people, deserve to live and work peacefully."

“We will continue to monitor the situation, working closely with our members and partners throughout the global creative sector.”