Disney Warner Media and Sony to Pause Theatrical Films in Russia

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Courtesy of Loren Javier (Flickr CC0)

Within hours after Walt Disney announced to pause the release of theatrical films in Russia, WarnerMedia announced it halts Batman’s Release this week. The announcement means the movie release schedule will not go ahead. They came about as governments around the world heightened their sanctions against Moscow. Recently, global corporations, including carmakers and energy giants, have also cut business ties with Russia.

Netflix refuses to act under the Russian rules to add channels to their service. Facebook and Twitter platforms limit their presence of Russian state-backed news outlet information after being accused of spreading misinformation about the invasion of Ukraine. Meta would restrict Sputnik and RT, state-owned media outlets in the European Union.

Twitter would add warnings to tweets sharing links to Russian state-affiliated media. Consequently, Google would block YouTube channels across Europe connected to Sputnik and RT.

Disney, Sony, and WarnerBrothers Pausing Film Releases in Russia

Courtesy of Stefan S (Flickr CC0)

Disney was the first major Hollywood studio to delay its film releases of the upcoming Pixar’s “Turning Red” at the Russian Box Office amid the Ukraine invasion last week.

Pixar’s “Turning Red” animated film will delay the scheduled March 10 film release, together with Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The movie drew in over $44.5 million to date. The other upcoming Disney film releases include “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Lightyear.” In addition, Sony jumped the bandwagon by holding the release of Jared Leto’s “Morbius” in late March and Paramount Pictures “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.”

Last week, the Ukrainian Film Academy started an online plea for an international boycott of the Russian movie theatres and the Russian movie industry after the invasion.

Russia is a significant market for Hollywood. In 2021, Russian cinema recorded $601 million in the box office, or about 2.8% of worldwide ticket sales.

Due to the unfolding humanitarian crisis, Disney spokesman said their future business injunctions depend on the situation. Until then, Disney is working with their NGO counterparts to supply urgent assistance and other humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


THR: Disney Pausing Theatrical Releases in Russia; by Pamela McClintock, Aaron Couch
Reuters: Disney, Warner Bros., Sony pausing film releases in Russia over Ukraine invasion; by Dawn Chmielewski

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Loren Javier’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Stefans02’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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