'Stalingrad' Becomes Russia's Highest-Grossing Film on Opening Weekend

Fyodor Bondarchuk's WWII movie, which opened Oct. 10, grossed $17.5 million.

MOSCOW -- Fyodor Bondarchuk’s WWII epic Stalingrad, released last weekend, became a local box office champion, while some Russians are collecting signatures under a petition for banning the film.

The $30 million movie, partially funded by the government through the Russian Cinema Fund, was released Oct. 10 in 2D and 3D formats and also in IMAX theaters. Stalingrad grossed $17.5 million (565 million rubles) -- the highest starting weekend figure for a local movie in Russia.

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“We are happy that Russian viewers took Stalingrad so well,” producer Alexander Rodnyansky said in a press release. “The film showed that our cinema, while staying close to local audiences in terms of content and emotions, can still successfully compete on the field of the high-technology cinema, in which American films with huge budgets dominate.”

Meanwhile, not all Russian viewers took the film well. Signatures are being collected online under a petition for banning the film. The authors of the petition are accusing the film of presenting Nazi officers in a favorable light, while, “Soviet soldiers are depicted as poorly educated, stupid and second-rate people, often driven by low instincts.”

Still, the number of the signees is considerably smaller than that of the film’s viewers.