Hollywood Blockbusters Could Take a Hit in Russia With Proposed Restrictions

Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images
Moscow, Russia

Under a draft legislation, any single movie can take no more than 35 percent of all screenings.

As Russia tries to protect the local film industry from Hollywood competition, a draft legislation has been penned, stipulating that any single movie released theatrically in the country can take no more than 35 percent of all screenings on any given day.

The culture ministry, which proposed the legislation, explained it by the need to "ensure diversity of movies available in theaters."

However, the move is more likely to continue the ministry's activities aimed at restricting the presence of Hollywood blockbusters in Russian theaters, as the biggest Hollywood movies account for considerably more than 35 percent of all screenings.

For instance, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, released in Russia on May 25, took 56 percent of all screenings during the first week of release.

Local distributors were taken aback by the idea. Anastasia Sergeyeva, executive director of the distribution company Volga, told The Hollywood Reporter that the plan was "poorly thought out."

"Hollywood blockbusters, which viewers want to watch, are leaders not only in the number of screenings, but also in gross per screening," she said, adding that the initiative will only lead to long lines at theaters with people who want to see Hollywood movies, while other movies will be screened to empty houses.

Although the proposal still has to be approved by parliament to be enacted, in the past, the Russian parliament easily passed all laws that were supposed to protect the local film industry.