The Last Picture Show

“Cinema. Closed.” Photo by Sergei Yermokhin for Delovoi Peterburg

Due to the cancellation of premieres of foreign films, Petersburg cinemas may lose half of their customers. The business will suffer huge losses, because such pictures account for about 70% of their revenue.

Disney, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures have decided to temporarily stop releasing films for distribution in Russia. This was reported by the media yesterday The Luxor theater chain told DP that, for now, it could officially confirm the cancellation of The Batman and the animated film Blush whose premieres were to take place in early March. Sony Pictures has removed the film Morbius from its scheduled release date for Russian distribution.

“Even the distribution companies cannot say whether the release dates will be postponed or the films will not be released in Russia ultimately, and how long the restrictions will last,” the cinema chain reported.

Mirage Cinema reported that, at the moment, the only information they had about the cancellation of releases was from the media. “We have no official letters from film distribution companies about the cancellation of premieres,” they said. The KARO chain’s press office laconically replied that they would work with what they had.

The Luxor chain noted that moviegoers choose different content at different venues. For example, in one of the the chain’s cinemas, they chose The Batman, and in another, Blush.

“Hollywood blockbusters garner most of the box office, especially family films. Viewers choose popular artists and trust the quality of the content produced by the film studios. Of course, multimillion-dollar production and advertising costs imply high traffic,” the company noted.

The network is confident that now the Petersburg film industry [sic] will return to the period of October–November 2020, when there were restrictions related to the coronavirus and blockbuster premieres were postponed. Attendance will be affected not only by the cancellation of films, but also by the general emotional and economic backdrop. The Russian film business [sic] will suffer significant losses, but it is difficult to predict further actions in the market now.

Disney and Sony Pictures are the world’s leading filmmakers. Warner Bros. ranked fourth in the 2021 global rating of film studios, behind Universal in third place. Ivan Samoilenko, managing partner of the communications agency B&C, noted that the Russian film distribution market was losing most premieres of western films, which were the main draw for Russian moviegoers. Last year, foreign films in Russia earned 30.3 billion rubles (106 million tickets were sold), while domestic projects had a total box office of 10.4 billion rubles (39.7 million tickets).

Samoilenko pointed out that out of the top ten highest–grossing films last year, eight were foreign (Hollywood) productions and two were domestic. “So we can say that in the absence of western cinema, traffic in Russian cinemas may decrease by 30-50%. This will especially affect the capital and St. Petersburg, which are national leaders in terms of numbers of cinemas, numbers of moviegoers, and turnover,” Samoylenko stressed.

In 2021, analysts at the consulting company JLL noted that traditional entertainment formats, including cinemas, had been experiencing the greatest difficulties in Petersburg’s shopping centers. Over the past year, the cinemas at the Pik shopping center and Ligov shopping mall [in central Petersburg] have closed.

Source: Darya Zaitseva, Delovoi Petersburg, 2 March 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


The seventh protest rally in a week has been taking place in downtown Petersburg. The protesters oppose the military special operation for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.

On the evening of March 2, protesters gathered again at Gostiny Dvor on Nevsky Prospekt. According to Kommersant Petersburg’s Telegram channel, initially the protesters declined to chant anti-war slogans, but after some time the situation changed.

A scene from the seventh anti-war rally at Gostiny Dvor in Petersburg, 2 March 2022. Photo: Kommersant Petersburg’s Telegram channel

Police officers have already begun to detain the protesters: participants of the unauthorized rally have been snatched from the crowd and taken to a bus for detainees. The Petersburg artist Yelena Osipova was sighted among the protesters. She always comes to such events with placards that she makes herself. She has also been detained.

It has also known that the pedestrian underpass next to Gostiny Dvor has been blocked. The regional Interior Ministry office and the Russian National Guard have not released official information about the unauthorized protest.

As DP reported earlier, almost 150 administrative hearings were conducted by the district city courts after one of the previous anti-war rallies. As a result, forty-nine participants of the unauthorized protest were jailed for a period of 5 to 10 days. Some protesters were fined and sentenced to community service.

On the afternoon of March 2, a rally in support of Russia’s actions in the Donbas [sic] was held next to the Bronze Horseman monument [in downtown Petersburg]. RIA Novosti has published video footage from the scene.

Source: Delovoi Peterburg, 2 March 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader

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