The Walt Disney Company has halted all theatrical releases in Russia amid the nation’s “unprovoked invasion” of neighboring Ukraine.
Per a CNBC report:
“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from Pixar,” the company said in a statement Monday. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation.
“In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crises, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees,” Disney said.
It is important to note that Disney is the first major movie studio to speak out against the Kremlin’s invasion of the smaller country. Warner Bros. is expected to release Robert Pattinson’s The Batman this week, as planned.
It is, however, possible that other major movie studios will follow suit now that Disney has set the precedent. The company is one of the largest entertainment conglomerates in the world, with subsidiaries including Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm/Star Wars, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and sports giant ESPN.
In regard to the invasion, Vladimir Putin’s forces have yet to take any major strongholds against President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian troops, and civilians who have formed a strong resistance. The capitol city of Kyiv remains under Ukrainain control at this time, though the nation’s military intelligence headquarters did take heavy fire today.
President Zelenskyy has signed a formal request to be admitted to the European Union, which would provide the country with some additional protections.
CNBC also shared additional details about how Disney’s decision amid could impact the company’s bottom line:
While ticket sales in Russia are not as significant as those drummed up in China, it is still a prominent market for Disney. “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a co-production with Sony has tallied more than $50 million in the country.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that, although Turning Red was slated for a theatrical release in Russia, it will head straight to the Disney+ streaming platform in the United States.
Stay tuned to ITM for additional details on this developing story.