If some reports state that Warner Bros. still releasing The Batman in Russia this week, not so The Walt Disney Company which has released a statement announcing the cessation of all cinematic releases (in Russia) following the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. This step is performed when Disney preparing for some big releases, including upcoming Pixar movies Turning Redwith other films like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be handled “based on the evolving situation.”
Although the Russian market is not as profitable as China’s, Spider-Man: No Way Home proved to be able to attract more than $50 million in the country, and if the current Russian invasion continues to escalate, then there will be a large part of the reduced revenue for Disney from the upcoming film. With that in mind, Disney’s stance on Russia’s actions is very clear, and the need to stand in solidarity is something more important to the exclusion of the thought of profit. Statement in Disney official website reads:
“In light of the unwarranted invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are halting theatrical releases of films in Russia, including Pixar’s upcoming ‘Turning Red’. We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. Meanwhile, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent assistance and other humanitarian assistance to the refugees.”
With Disney being one of the biggest “players” in Hollywood and taking a tough stance on postponing its most imminent films, it is still possible that The Batman may be pulled from the list of Russian releases before the end of this week.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, countries around the world have decided on sanctions and bans with respect to Russia, and that led to initial discussions by Hollywood studio executives about whether to withdraw their upcoming film in favor of Ukraine. The Hollywood Reporter said earlier this week that an executive told them, “If the US and its allies want to separate Russia from the rest of the world, then how are we going to go ahead and release our film there?”
Despite the moral stance taken by Disney, with others likely to follow as there are movies like Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Morbius and Fantastic Beasts 3 Also ready for release, the EU’s act of removing Russia from global banking means that from a financial point of view, releasing the film will not guarantee any money back from distribution partners in the country without Russia in global banking.