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Russia Eyes Foreign Pix Quota That Would Hit Hollywood Movies Hardest

LONDON — Russian lawmakers will consider a bill that proposes a 50% cap on foreign film releases in the country, which is the world’s 10th biggest box-office territory.

The bill, which will be submitted to the Russian Duma by deputy Robert Shlegel, would hit Hollywood pics the hardest as they account for 70% of Russia’s $1.3 billion box office.

“We basically show American films that promote the stereotypes, national interests and values of the United States,” Schlegel told Izvestia on Tuesday. “Many of these are low quality. Russia can produce its own films, which will be interesting to viewers.”

Shlegel, who is a former television journalist and a rising star in Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, denied that the bill was a response to U.S. and E.U. sanctions that followed the annexation of Crimea.

The measure, which is set to be debated in the next two weeks, is likely to face opposition. Leonid Levin, first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Information Policy Committee, warned that a cap on foreign films would drive Hollywood movie fans to download more pirate films, the Moscow Times reported.

Alexander Akopov, prexy of the Russian Television Academy, said that the cap may cause Russian filmmakers to relax and fail to produce their best work, leading to a fall in the quality of local films.

The bill is not the first time the Duma has considered measures to limit the number of foreign films. Last year, deputy Dmitry Litvintsev tabled legislation that would have capped foreign films at 80%, but the Duma rejected the proposal.

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