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Russian Cinemas Sit Idle Amid Hollywood Walkout

Paul / flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

More than a third of Russian movie theaters were forced to temporarily close in June as visitor numbers dwindled amid the disappearance of Hollywood blockbusters, the Kommersant business daily reported Thursday.

Russia’s film industry was thrown into turmoil after the five major Hollywood studios — Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures and Paramount — halted new releases in Russia in March following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Data from the Russian Association of Theater Owners showed that the number of cinemas holding at least one screening dropped from 5,700 on Jan. 5 to 3,600 on June 6, Kommersant reported.

The figures mark a 36% decline in the number of open movie theaters during the workweek.

Weekend data showed a similar trend, with a 21% drop in the number of cinemas open between June 4-5, compared with similar dates in January.

Revenue has also fallen, with cinemas making just 681.4 million rubles ($12.8 million) during the week of May 30-June 5, a 63% drop from average weekly earnings in 2021.

Cinema attendance in the same week was also down by 57% when compared to 2021 figures, totaling 1.2 million people.

Industry experts predict that Russian cinema attendance will fall even further this summer due to the absence of big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, despite no shortage in domestic releases. 

Russia’s film industry employs 55,000 people, including approximately 20,000 in movie production. 

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