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Universal is the latest Hollywood studio to pause sending its films to Russian theaters, joining the rest of the major players — Disney, Warner Bros., Sony and Paramount — in pulling their releases following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Universal Pictures has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a Universal spokesperson said in a statement.
Universal had the animated The Bad Guys due out in Russia on March 24, with Michael Bay’s Ambulance to follow April 7. The Bad Guys is a DreamWorks Animation production and voice-stars Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos and Awkwafina. Ambulance stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as bank robbers who, after a heist gone wrong, commandeer an ambulance and take the driver and passenger hostage.
Disney kicked off the wave of studio action on Monday, saying it would pull its releases from Russia, including Pixar’s Turning Red. Warners and Sony quickly followed suit within hours, while Paramount made its own announcement Tuesday morning. Warners perhaps has the most to lose, with The Batman the highest-profile project pulled of any studio, with the move made just days before its scheduled release. As of Sunday, the studio had planned to stick firm to its date on The Batman. Other high-profile projects no longer set for Russia releases include Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sony’s Jared Leto Marvel movie, Morbius.
The major studios pulling their films followed a weekend move by the European Union to ban Russia from the global interbank messaging system SWIFT. Without SWIFT, studios may not be able to get any money back from their Russian distribution partners.
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