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Hollywood studios pull upcoming releases in Russia

Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Paramount Pictures announced the decision in light of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

01 March 2022

Several major Hollywood entertainment companies have said they are pausing the upcoming release of films in Russia in response to the ongoing “humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine.

Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Paramount Pictures announced the news as Russian military forces continued their attacks in the country.

Violence continues to rage across the region, with thousands of citizens forced to flee their homes across the country’s borders.

Not long after sunrise, a Russian military strike hit the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, with at least six bodies pulled from the ruins, an emergency official said.

On Tuesday, Paramount Pictures announced that the highly-anticipated action comedy The Lost City – starring Channing Tatum, Sandra Bullock and Daniel Radcliffe – would not be shown in Russia.

Similarly, they have paused the release of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, featuring the voices of Idris Elba and Jim Carrey.

The film studios said: “As we witness the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, we have decided to pause the theatrical release of our upcoming films in Russia, including The Lost City, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

“We stand by all those impacted by the humanitarian crisis across Ukraine, Russia, and our international markets and will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.”

The Batman screening – London
Warner Bros said it was pausing the release of it’s highly anticipated superhero blockbuster The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz (Ian West/PA)

Warner Bros also said it was pausing the release of its superhero blockbuster The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz.

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”

Sony Pictures also announced the postponement of its films in Russia, including vampire-superhero flick Morbius.

“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of Morbius,” an SPE spokesperson said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”

The film’s star Jared Leto previously urged his family and friends caught up in the “devastating” conflict to stay “as safe as you can”.

“Sending thoughts to you and your loved ones during this chaotic and disruptive time,” he tweeted.

As well as pausing the release of its films, Disney said it would work with its NGO partners to provide “urgent aide and other humanitarian assistance” to refugees.

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia, including the upcoming Turning Red from Pixar,” a statement posted online by the company said.

“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation.

“In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aide and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”

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