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Russian Movie Theaters Trade Hollywood for Bollywood

Western distributors are limiting film sales to Russia.

Still from the Indian movie "Radhe Shyam"

Russian movie theaters are about to be hit with another financial challenge after the coronavirus closed theaters for months. This time they are likely to lose their most profitable films: Hollywood blockbusters. Instead, as Cinema Park, Formula Kino, Premier Hall, Karo, Kinomax, and Cinema Star told the newspaper Vedomosti, they will show domestic fare, films from South Korea and Latin America, and the films of India’s Bollywood.

Olga Zinyakova, president of the Karo cinema chain, told the newspaper that she didn’t believe the situation was hopeless. "People used to line up to see Bollywood in cinemas, so there is interest in these movies.”

The exception, at least for now, is the Art Theater, which still has a line-up of American, European and Asian films, including “Licorice Pizza” and “Death on the Nile.” Pioner Theater, another Moscow movie house that has specialized in foreign films, was not available for comment.

In addition to changing their film profile, the theaters are vowing to keep ticket prices low.

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