Audiences storm theaters for Veisburg film

Russian helmer Marius Veisburg’s “Hitler Kaput” has stormed the local box office — a surprise in a country that’s sensitive about its WWII legacy.

Pic was a runaway leader in its first weekend after its Sept. 18 release via Central Partnership, bringing in some $5.2 million in a 685-print bow.

The only other Russian film to go out in the same slot, Filipp Yankovsky’s “Stonehead,” from indie production house CTB, made only $362,000 on 229 copies despite extensive TV ads.

“Journey to the Center of the Earth” had made $1.4 million on 300 after its second weekend.

“Hitler Kaput” is a parody of the 1973 TV series “17 Moments of Spring,” directed by Tatiana Lioznova, about a Russian spy, Stirlitz, who infiltrates the Third Reich. In “Hitler Kaput,” set in the closing year of WWII, Stirlitz morphs into Shurenberg (Pavel Derevyanko). Life in Hitler’s bunker is a succession of absurd pastiches, staged as a musical romp.

It hasn’t gone down well everywhere, however, with lawmakers in St. Petersburg calling for it to be pulled from the city’s screens. “In my opinion, it’s a tasteless parody and has no relation whatsoever to the art of cinema,” said Anton Gubankov, head of the city’s cultural committee.

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