Russia Uses Power to Reschedule Foreign Film Releases for First Time, Delaying Noomi Rapace's 'Rupture'

Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

It says the movie, starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Chiklis, would "create competition to local releases."

Controversy erupted in Russia on Wednesday as sci-fi thriller Rupture, starring Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare and Michael Chiklis, was denied an exhibition license for its originally scheduled Thursday release date.

The country's culture ministry, which handles exhibition licenses for all theatrical releases, explained the decision by saying that the movie would "create competition to local releases" also slated to open on that date, according to distributor Megogo Films, which was quoted by online industry journal Kinoplex.

The ministry obtained the right to reschedule Hollywood and foreign releases to avoid clashes with local releases two years ago amid a drive to protect local movies from competition. The Rupture case marks the first time the ministry has used that power to reschedule a Hollywood or foreign release.

So far, distributors have preferred not to upset the ministry. Two years ago, Disney moved up the Russian release date of The Avengers: Age of Ultron to avoid colliding with the Russian release A Zori Zdes Tikhie (The Dawns Here Are Quiet). That didn't, however, help the Russian movie do well at the box office.

Currently, Feb. 2 is indicted as the new release date for Rupture, but an exhibition license has not yet been issued. The film was directed by Secretary director Steven Shainberg. AMBI Distribution, the worldwide sales arm of Monika Bacardi's and Andrea Iervolino's AMBI Group, is handling the film. No U.S. distributor or release date have been set.