Russia Box Office: Preferential Treatment for Local Releases Doesn't Pan Out

Jay Maidment
'Avengers: Age of Ultron' became one of Russia's top grossing movies despite its release being moved up

A step that pushed up the 'Avengers' release hasn't worked out for Russian movies.

Russian authorities' measure that pushed up the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron in a bid to create preferential treatment for local releases over Hollywood movies hasn't worked out, with the vast majority of Russian movies released so far flopping at the box office.

Out of 49 Russian movies that came out in the first five months of 2015, only three turned in a profit, according to the local trade journal Kinodata Pro. The poor performance occurred despite the fact that a few months ago, the country's culture ministry obtained the authority to schedule releases to ensure that no Hollywood blockbuster could compete with a major local release.

To avoid compulsory rescheduling by the culture ministry, Disney moved the release date of Avengers: Age of Ultron to April 23 from April 30, a date on which the release of the WWII drama A Zori Zdes Tikhiye (The Dawns Here Are Quiet) was scheduled.

The Avengers movie still grossed $33.8 million and is currently the year's second top-grossing film, according to the Russian data base KinoPoisk, while $6.8 million The Dawns Here Are Quiet grossed only $5.2 million.

May releases timed to the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II were equally unsuccessful. Another WWII drama, Doroga na Berlin (Road to Berlin), with a budget of $3.8 million, grossed only $530,000.

The cartoon Three Heroes: A Gambit, romantic comedy Eight New Dates and contemporary drama Soulless 2 are the only Russian movies that have turned a profit in theaters since the beginning of this year.