Disney Moves Up 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Russia Release

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Screengrab - H 2014

The move follows the culture ministry's recommendation that the former April date is clear for a major local release.

Disney has moved up the Russian release date of The Avengers: Age of Ultron to avoid colliding with a Russian film's release. The decision follows the culture minister's statement that his agency now can control release dates of all films, making sure that local movies are a priority.

Disney and distributor BVSPR moved the release date of The Avengers: Age of Ultron from April 30 to April 23, BVSPR's general director Anton Sirenko was quoted as saying by the business daily Vedomosti.

On April 30, A Zori Zdes Tikhiye (The Dawns Here are Quiet) — Renat Davletyarov's remake of the 1972 Oscar-nominated WWII drama and an expected local box-office hit — will be released.

Speaking earlier this month, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky specifically mentioned the Russian release and urged distributors to make sure that none of the major Hollywood releases are scheduled for that date. He stressed that the culture ministry's new policy is to move release dates to give priority to local movies, and it will be applied unless distributors voluntarily remove Hollywood blockbusters' releases from dates for which major Russian releases are slated.

"This wasn't an easy decision for us, but as a responsible player, we cannot ignore recommendations made at the top level," Sirenko told Vedomosti. "As a company that has been operating in Russia for a long time, we certainly support Russian cinema."

The culture ministry's decision to control release dates in favor of local movies is widely viewed as a milder form of supporting the local film industry than introducing restrictions on foreign releases, an idea that has been floated several times over the last few years.

Last year, the culture ministry said it would consider the introduction of restrictions based on 2014's box-office data. Although local releases' shares did not grow from the previous years, there has been no word about restrictions so far.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is slated to be released in the United States on May 1. It is scheduled to come out in France, Italy, Norway and Sweden on April 22; in Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore and New Zealand on April 23; in the U.K. and Ireland on April 24; and in most other territories on April 30 or May 1.