Warner Bros. pulled The Batman from its Russian release calendar at the 11th hour. The decision comes as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine and follows Disney’s move to pause its forthcoming releases in the country.
“WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film in light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine The Batman in Russia,” a spokesman for WarnerMedia said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the development of the situation. We hope for a speedy and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”
The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, was scheduled to open in Russia on March 3 as part of the film’s global rollout. Other upcoming Warner Bros. films slated for release in Russia include Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (April 14) and the animated one DC League of Super Pets (May 19).
Russia is among the world’s top box office markets and, with Sony’s, is a lucrative territory for Hollywood releases Spider-Man: No Way Home has earned more than $44.5 million since opening in December. Over the Feb. 25-27 weekend, the first since Russia launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine, a slew of Hollywood releases opened in Russia, including that of Joe Wright Cyrano and Paramount’s The Godfather 50th Anniversary. Among the remnants was Kenneth Branaghs Death on the Nile and Sony’s Unexplored.
The decision to continue sending films to Russia sparked behind-closed-doors talks in Hollywood all weekend. As of late Sunday, Warners still intended to release it The Batman there, but rapidly developing events saw these plans change.
On Monday afternoon, Disney became the first major Hollywood studio to announce that it was pausing the opening of its films in Russia.
“In light of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of cinema films in Russia, including the upcoming ones To redden of Pixar, “Walt Disney Co. said a spokesman in a statement. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the looming refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent relief and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”
Disney and Pixar To redden was scheduled to open in Russia on March 10. WarnerMedia’s statement regarding The Batman Disney’s announcement quickly followed.
Shortly thereafter, the Motion Picture Association — the main lobbying arm for the big studios and Netflix — released its first comment on the invasion.
“The Motion Picture Association stands with the international community in upholding the rule of law and condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On behalf of our member companies, leaders in the film, television and streaming industries, we express our strongest support for Ukraine’s vibrant creative community, which like all human beings deserves to live and work peacefully.” says the MPA statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with our members and partners across the global creative sector.”
Sony followed within an hour with its own announcement that it would not be released disease next month in Russia. Jared Letos diseasewhich is part of Sony’s shared universe based on characters from the Spider-Man mythos was due to release in the country on March 24th.
“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting insecurity and humanitarian crisis in that region, we will pause our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of diseasesaid the spokesman for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and we hope that this crisis will be resolved quickly.”
Other upcoming event images scheduled for release in Russia are Paramounts Lost City and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Monday’s spate of announcements from Hollywood studios followed the European Union’s decision over the weekend to ban Russia from the global banking system, SWIFT. Without SWIFT, studios may not be able to recover money from their Russian distributors.
This story has been updated with additional statements from MPA and Sony.