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Russia to give preference to local releases in comparison to Hollywood, foreign films

MUMBAI: Russia’s culture ministry has prepared a new procedure for issuing exhibition licenses to movies, which will give preference to local releases over Hollywood and other foreign films.

As per a report in the Hollywood Reporter, local distributors will be able to move the release dates of films from overseas if they compete with domestic movies.

Distributors of Russian movies will be able to apply to the ministry and demand that a date of a competing foreign release be changed, if the ‘target audience’ of the two films is the same.

Currently under Russian law no movie can be screened without an exhibition license, which does not include release dates. But the new procedure will include the release of movies.

The culture ministry already had the power to move release dates for foreign movies to avoid competition with major local releases but only as an exceptional measure, the report added.

Earlier this year, Disney voluntarily moved up the Russian release date of ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ to avoid collision with the Russian film ‘A Zori Zdes Tikhiye’ (The Dawns Here are Quiet), one of the year’s major local releases, after the culture ministry said it would otherwise force the company to do so.

The report further mentions that local producers have welcomed the new procedure. Natalia Mokritskaya, producer of ‘Bitva za Sevastopol’ (Battle for Sevastopol), was quoted by the news agency RIA Novosti as saying that her film had to compete with ‘Furious 7’ on the second week of its theatrical run and lost a substantial share of the box office to the Hollywood competitor.

She added that she will definitely apply to the culture ministry for adjustment of release dates the next time she would be releasing a movie with a commercial potential.