Russian Online Ticketing Service Backs Down in Conflict With Hollywood Majors

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
'Fifty Shades Freed' will be the first Universal movie exhibited by Alexander Mamut's theaters in months.

Russian online ticketing service Rambler ended its battle with Universal by dropping online booking fees for the studios' titles.

Russian online ticketing service Rambler has suspended its booking fee on movie theater tickets in an apparent move to resolve a conflict with Hollywood's major studios.

When the 10 percent booking fee was introduced in early October, the studios were upset. Universal reacted by pulling The Snowman and American Made from the Formula Kino and Cinema Park cinema chains, which have the same owner as Rambler — local tycoon Alexander Mamut.

In the wake of the standoff, the two cinema chains didn't exhibit a single Universal movie. Disney and 20th Century Fox did not pull their films from the cinema chains, but barred Rambler from selling tickets for their slate.

In announcing the suspension of the booking fee, Rambler did not make a specific connection to the conflict with the majors. However, the company's spokesman was quoted by the Russian business daily Vedomosti as saying that "a principle agreement was reached."

Another sign that the conflict is over is tickets for new Disney and Fox movies are again available on Rambler, as of Thursday.

Similarly, Universal's Fifty Shades Freed was released Thursday in theaters across Russia, including Formula Kino and Cinema Park theaters, with tickets to it available on Rambler.