Russia Drops Plan to Limit Screenings of Hollywood Releases

Universal Pictures
Last year's release of 'Fifty Shades Freed' prompted Russian authorities to consider restrictions on Hollywood fare

A proposal had called for restricting the total number of screenings of any single Hollywood or foreign release to 35 percent of the total number of screenings in the country.

The Russian government has dropped the idea of restricting the total number of screenings of any single Hollywood or foreign release to 35 percent of the total number of screenings in the country.

"This idea resurfaces from time to time, also coming from the filmmaking community, but at this point, it is not on the agenda," Olga Lubimova, head of the culture ministry's film department, was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS.

Lubimova did not provide any explanation for the ministry's decision not to go ahead with the plans. However, local cinema chains have been critical of the idea, and their opinion could have been taken into account.

Russian exhibitors welcomed the culture ministry's decision to stay away from curbs. "Restricting the total number of screenings of any single film would have had a negative impact on theaters with few screens, which would have had to exhibit movies with lower commercial potential instead of major releases, losing profits," Olga Zinyakova, president of the KARO movie theater chain, told The Hollywood Reporter.

"The culture ministry's abandoning of that initiative will allow movie theaters to continue operation under fair conditions," she added. The culture ministry and the Russian offices of Hollywood majors did not reply to THR's request for comment. That said, Hollywood should benefit from any lack of new restrictions in Russia.

The idea of restricting Hollywood and foreign movies exhibited in Russia has been discussed for several years, but the proposal to introduce a cap on the total number of screenings was prompted by last year's release of Universal's Fifty Shades FreedBack then, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky was enraged by the fact that at some theaters, the movie accounted for up to 70 percent of all screenings, "crashing," as the minister claimed, a number of local movies released at the same time.