Some Crimean Theaters Demanding Russian-Dubbed Movies From Hollywood

The political crisis in the region has left the major U.S. film studios in limbo in terms of releasing their films there.

LAS VEGAS -- Feeling patriotic about about being part of Russia again, some Crimean theater owners are demanding that Hollywood studios provide Russian-dubbed prints, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The move leaves the studios in legal limbo, since they license their films to Ukrainian distributors, not to Russian companies.

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Late last week, Russian president Vladimir Putin completed the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, previously part of the Ukraine. The U.S. government so far has refused to recognize Crimea's new status and has imposed sanctions against Russia for its actions.

Several film executives and foreign theater owners gathering in Las Vegas this week for CinemaCon said the request for Russian-dubbed films contradicts a relatively new law in Ukraine requiring all films to be dubbed in Ukranian (Russian subtitles are allowed).

According to one estimate, 40 percent of those living in Crimea speak Russian as their first language.

In terms of its market power, the Crimean box office is relatively small. There are roughly 33 screens, with most situated in the cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol.

There's even a question of whether Ukrainian distributors can supply movies to theaters in Crimea now that Russia has annexed the peninsula.

Hollywood studios declined to comment on the record about Crimea.

The next Hollywood film opening in the Ukraine is Paramount's biblical epic Noah, which debuts there Thursday, along with in Russia. Paramount could not be reached for comment about whether the movie will play in Crimean theaters.