Russia Box Office: Summer Gross Sets Record in Rubles

The Secret Life of Pets-Still 6-H 2016
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Hollywood dominance helps boost the performance in local currency terms, but a weaker ruble means the dollar result is below past years.

The summer’s total box office gross in Russia set an all-time record in ruble terms. Hollywood movies dominated the summer, with local fare responsible for just 2 percent of the box office in the country.

For the June through August period, Russia's total box office amounted to 12.9 billion rubles, a 7 percent increase over the previous record, 12.1 billion rubles, which was set in 2014, Booker's Bulletin, the country's main industry journal, calculated. The result also came in 10 percent above last summer's take of 11.7 billion rubles.

The record performance was driven by Hollywood releases. The summer's top-grossing releases were Universal's The Secret Life of Pets, which took in 1.7 billion rubles ($26.3 million), Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad (1.6 billion rubles or $24.8 million) and Lionsgate's Now You See Me 2 (1.1 billion or $17 million), all of which make the top 10 list of the highest-grossing releases on 2016 to date.

Meanwhile, due to the Russian currency's sharp devaluation over the last two years, the box office performance in the summer of 2014 remains a record in U.S. dollar terms. The total box office gross that summer amounted to $336 million at that year's average exchange rate of the ruble to the dollar, compared with $200 million this past summer and $175 million in 2015.

The poor showing of local movies is mostly explained by producers' unwillingness to release their films in the summer. Several highly anticipated Russian releases are scheduled for this fall. Last year, homegrown fare made up 11 percent of the summer box office in Russia.