'Child 44' Russia Release Canceled Over Distortion Claims

'Child 44

The Tom Hardy movie, set in post-WWII Soviet Union, was accused of "distorting historical facts."

Lionsgate's movie Child 44, which was to be released in Russia on Thursday, has been pulled from theaters at the culture ministry’s request. The movie was accused of "distorting the history."

The distributor, Central Partnership, made a decision to pull the film from theaters after a preliminary screening for officials from the culture ministry, which issued an exhibition license for the movie, and representatives of public organizations, the company said in a press release.

The culture ministry said in a statement, quoted by the Russian news agency TASS, that the movie "distorted historical facts" and gave "peculiar renditions" of events related to WWII and Soviet characters from that era.

"Central Partnership bought rights to Child 44 as part of a package deal with Summit back in 2011," the distributor's general director Pavel Stepanov said in the press release. "We suggested changes at the script, production and overdubbing stages, but we weren't satisfied with the end result."

"We are glad that our opinion was the same as that of the culture ministry," he went on to say. "We believe that in the future, the government needs to step up control over exhibition of films that have public importance."

The release of Child 44 was supposed to come just a few weeks before the celebration of 70th anniversary of Russia and its allies' victory in WWII, and Russian officials have been concerned with making sure that movies related to the topic convey "correct" ideological messages.

The movie is centered on a disgraced member of the Soviet military police who investigates a series of child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.