Volgafilm Grabs 'Hummingbird Effect' for Russia and CIS (Exclusive)

6:54 PM PST 04/22/2013 by Nick Holdsworth
"The Hummingbird Effect"

The indie distributor hopes the London-set thriller will benefit from star Jason Statham's rising popularity in the region.

MOSCOW – Volgafilm Inc., one of Russia’s top indie distributors, has slated the Jason Statham starer The Hummingbird Effect for a Russia and CIS release on June 13.

Volgafilm, which last year released 12 films that earned a total box office of $25.6 million – 2.1 percent of Russia’s total $1.3 billion turnstile — is banking on Statham’s popularity in Russia to give it another hit.

Written and directed by acclaimed British screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things), Hummingbird tells the story of troubled ex-soldier Joey Jones (Statham) who is living rough in London after seeing his unit ripped apart by an artillery barrage in Afghanistan. On the run from a ruthless gang, Joey breaks into a Covent Garden flat owned by a wealthy man and assumes his identity. But when Joey’s pregnant girlfriend is found dead in a river, his attempts to forge a new life with the help of friend and sponsor Sister Cristina begin to crumble.

VIDEO: 'Hummingbird' Trailer: Jason Statham Infiltrates London's Underworld

An IM Global film produced by Paul Webster (Anna Karenina, Atonement) and Guy Heeley through their company Shoebox Films, which is a partnership between them and director Joe Wright, the film is Knight’s directorial debut.

Also starring Benedict Wong (Johnny English Reborn) and David Bradley (Captain America: The first Avenger), the film is described a gritty, fast-paced thriller that Volgafilm sees as an excellent fit for its Russia and CIS region audiences.

Nzinga Garvey, Volgafilm’s Los Angeles-based executive, told THR that research showed Statham is a highly bankable star in Russia, with regional box office for movies he has appeared in ranging between $2.5 million for Blitz through $8.2 for The Mechanic to $17.9 million for Expendables 2.

Research by Nielsen shows that Statham is known by 91 percent of men under age 25 and 87 percent of men older than 25. For women the figures are 92 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to release The Hummingbird Effect starring Jason Statham," said Volgafilm CEO Sergei Yershov. "We continue to see audiences respond to riveting storylines that showcase this talented actor. The director, Steven Knight, has crafted a story that quite purposefully utilizes the streets of London as yet another intriguing character. This film has a broad audience appeal that we will gladly develop; thereby building on Jason’s ever-growing fan base.”

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