Russian 'Metro' Stops Top Spot

Disaster Pic Bests Hollywood Fare at the Box Office and Boosts Local Film Biz

MOSCOW – Dubbed Russia’s first Hollywood-style blockbuster, local disaster movie “Metro” topped the country’s weekend charts with $4.5 million after a 1,000 print release Feb. 21.
“Metro” bested Twentieth Century Fox’s “A Good Day to Die Hard,” which nabbed $2.6 million in its soph session for a $10.8 million cume, and Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer “The Last Stand,” which took $1.7 million.
“Metro,” made on a budget of $13 million with Russian government coin backing, features Hollywood-style vfx in a story that revolves around Moscow’s underground train system being flooded after a tunnel that runs beneath a river collapses.

The film’s impressive first weekend takings are bound to please the Kremlin, which wants to see more box office bang for its buck from publicly-funded movies. The government is mulling ways — including screen quotas — to help give local pics a chance at the box office
Producer Igor Tolstunov of Moscow’s Profit Film has already sold TV rights to Russia’s top-rating station, Channel One, and believes the movie will take around $11 million in total on domestic release.
“The best part is the disaster itself,” said Moscow film critic Maria Kuvshinova. “It’s well-written, totally realistic, frightening and very clear from beginning to end, which is unique in Russian cinema. You also notice how they deal with suspense: Even if you know the girl won’t die in a genre movie, you are still afraid (at one point) she’s dead.”
The film could be considered Russia’s first true Hollywood-style disaster movie, she said, not only because of the production level, but also because of the genre cliches that seemed to be pulled right from American movies.

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