Warner Bros. has announced that it has halted its plans to release “The Batman” in Russia. The DC adaptation was set to release in the country on Friday.
“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a spokesperson for WarnerMedia said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”
Later Monday evening, Sony Pictures also announced plans to pause its plans to release “Morbius,” its upcoming solo film for the Marvel antihero, and all other upcoming theatrical releases in Russia.
“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of ‘Morbius,'” a Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesperson said Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly.”
As of this writing, it remains unclear whether films that have already been released in Russia, such as Disney and 20th Century Studios’ “Death on the Nile” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted,” will continue to play in theaters in the country.
Warner Bros. and Sony’s decision to halt the rollout of their respective superhero films in the country comes only hours after Disney announced plans to pause its own theatrical releases in Russia, beginning with Pixar’s “Turning Red,” which was set to premiere on March 10 in the country.
“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from Pixar,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”
With a production budget estimated at $200 million, “The Batman” will have to rely on overseas audiences to firmly supplant itself as a box office success story. While Russia generally isn’t a make-or-break territory for the success of Hollywood releases, there is still a sizable market for a film like “The Batman.” Looking back at last year’s releases, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” generated a robust $44 million in Russia. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” made $32 million in the country, making it the second-biggest market for the Tom Hardy sequel following North America.
Hollywood studios at large are debating the prospect of releasing content in Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces.