Disney Resumes Local-Language Movie Production in Russia After 7-Year Break

Moscow Russia Aerial View - H 2013
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Moscow Russia Aerial View - H 2013

The company says it is part of its localization strategy in the market.

Disney's Russian office is resuming the production of local-language movies after a seven-year break, with family fantasy movie Posledni Bogatyr (The Last Warrior) set to be its first release.

"This is part of our localization strategy," Marina Jigalova-Ozkan, general director of Disney Russia, told The Hollywood Reporter. "We want to carry on the tradition of screen adaptations of Russian fairy tales, started by such great film directors as Aleksandr Rou and Aleksandr Ptushko."

When the company released its first Russian-language movie, Kniga Masterov (The Book of Masters), it planned to make more local-language movies.

The Last Warrior will be co-produced by Disney's Russian office and local studio Yellow, Black and White. "The Last Warrior is continuing our strategy focused on family entertainment in Russia," Jigalova-Ozkan said. "This will be an absolutely innovative project."

"The movie, to be directed by Dmitry Dyachenko, will be based on Russian fairy tales, with a comedy element to it. The budget of the picture hasn't been revealed. It is set for release in October 2017.

The announcement comes at a time when family fantasy/adventure movies are doing well at the Russian box office, being nearly the only safe bet for the studios.

It also comes as Hollywood studios have been making local-language films in various countries to add localized fare to their global film franchises.

Disney launched in Russia 10 years ago. In 2009, the company released The Book of Masters, which had a budget of $8 million and grossed $10.8 million, according to local database KinoPoisk. Disney also runs a television network, Disney Channel, and has been involved in production of television content in the country.