Russian Culture Ministry Wants Control Over Scheduling Releases

Vladimir Medinsky

The move comes as part of an effort to protect the local film industry from Hollywood competition

The Russian culture ministry has demanded control over scheduling movie releases to ensure that local films are not in a disadvantaged position against Hollywood releases.

"All over the world, [governments] control release schedules," culture minister Vladimir Medinsky was quoted as saying by the news agency TASS. "For instance, if a children's blockbuster were scheduled for release in the U.S., they would move the release date of their equivalent of [the Russian comedy] Gorko-2 (Kiss the Bride-2). But we don't do it. And this is something we should do at the very least."

He did not explain where his information about the U.S. government's interference with movie release dates came from.

"It should be done the same way as in many countries," the minister went on to say. "They don't just issue exhibition licenses; they also say on which specific dates a film could be released."

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Medinsky also complained that Russian distributors are too much focused on the New Year holiday season, during which local releases compete with each other, while between August and October of this year, not a single major local movie was released.

Over the last few months, steps aimed at protecting the local film industry at the box office have been discussed in the Russian government. One of the most commonly suggested initiatives is the introduction of minimum quotas for local releases. A decision on that is expected to be made based on this year's box office performance of local releases.

"I am in favor of introducing quotas, especially because the results of this year could be worse than last year's," said Medinsky, adding that many in the industry also support the idea but don't want to say it.