September 12, 2023

Not Even Russia Is Immune from "Barbenheimer"


Not Even Russia Is Immune from "Barbenheimer"
Barbie shaking hands with Oppenheimer in a Hollywood studio. Jordan, Twitter.

Against Hollywood and the Russian government's wishes, the two most viewed movies of 2023, Barbie and Oppenheimer, have arrived at Moscow and St. Petersburg theaters.

To evade restrictions, a Moscow movie theater will sell tickets to the Mattel doll's movie under the name of a different film, Speed Dating, while Christopher Nolan's biopic of Oppenheimer is being sold alongside the Russian animated movie Dubak ("Extreme Cold"). 

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hollywood studios left the Russian market, as did countless other Western businesses. As such, Barbie and Oppenheimer do not have official distribution in Russia. However, Yandex.Afisha reported that Oppenheimer had already screened in theaters in Rostov, Yakutsk, Ulan-Ude, Krasnoyarsk, and other cities earlier this month.

The war has forced Russian cinemas to become creative when screening Hollywood blockbusters. Many movie theaters sell tickets to short films and show a foreign picture shortly after "for free." Others rent out their screening rooms to third-party companies or subsidiaries, who then project the Hollywood movies. 

Vice-Speaker of the State Duma Vladislav Davankov has also felt the "Barbenheimer" fever. The legislator asked the Ministry of Culture to show the two American films in Russia without permission from copyright holders. The Ministry denied his request, alleging the movies were against "Russian traditional values."

Dubak premiered in Moscow theaters on September 7. Speed Dating will open in theaters on September 17.

 

 

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