Universal Pictures is the latest Hollywood studio to pause Russian film releases amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
Universal had previous plans for two movies to hit theaters in the nation — animated film The Bad Guys was due out in Russia on March 24 and Michael Bay’s Ambulance was set to follow on April 7.
Universal Pictures joins The Walt Disney Company, Warner Media, Sony Pictures, and Paramount Pictures in halting Russian releases during wartime, making them the last major studio to take an official stance on the conflict.
Currently, Ukrainian forces still hold the capitol city of Kyiv, but the major city of Kherson has fallen and is currently under Russian occupation.
“In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Universal Pictures has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a Universal spokesperson said in a statement.
The Bad Guys is a DreamWorks Animation production starring Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, and Awkwafina. The film follows five infamous icons– Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, Mr. Piranha, and Ms. Tarantula– as they attempt to change their image and become more than just “the bad guys.”
The official description for the movie reads:
Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys—dashing pickpocket Mr. Wolf (Academy Award® winner Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), seen-it-all safecracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron, GLOW), chill master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson, Hot Tub Time Machine franchise), short-fused “muscle” Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos, In the Heights) and sharp-tongued expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians), aka “Webs.”
But when, after years of countless heists and being the world’s most-wanted villains, the gang is finally caught, Mr. Wolf brokers a deal (that he has no intention of keeping) to save them all from prison: The Bad Guys will go good.
Under the tutelage of their mentor Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade, Paddington 2), an arrogant (but adorable!) guinea pig, The Bad Guys set out to fool the world that they’ve been transformed. Along the way, though, Mr. Wolf begins to suspect that doing good for real may give him what he’s always secretly longed for: acceptance. So when a new villain threatens the city, can Mr. Wolf persuade the rest of the gang to become … The Good Guys?
Ambulance stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as bank robbers who, after a heist gone wrong, commandeer an ambulance and take the driver and passenger hostage.
Ambulance comes to theaters in the U.S. on April 8 and The Bad Guys debuts domestically on April 22.
Per journalist Kim Willsher, the latest news from Europe is that French President Emanuel Macron had a conversation with President Putin today, indicating that Russian forces will not ceases until Ukraine is “neutralized.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, shared hope in a recent statement per the Kyiv Independent:
“We have survived two world wars, three famines, the Holocaust, Babyn Yar, the Great Purge, the Chornobyl explosion, the occupation of Crimea, and the war in the east of our state.
“They wanted to destroy us so many times, but they couldn’t,” he said.
⚡️Zelensky: We have survived two world wars, three famines, the Holocaust, Babyn Yar, the Great Purge, the Chornobyl explosion, the occupation of Crimea, and the war in the east of our state.
"They wanted to destroy us so many times, but they couldn't," he said.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 3, 2022
Stay tuned to ITM for additional details on this developing story.
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