Russian films earn record box office
The Russian audience is showing a rising interest in domestically produced movies, according to the recently reported data. Last year, new Russian films were attended by every sixth spectator; in other words, about 17% of the audience in Russia watched domestic films. In 2012, this figure was two times lower. In addition, recently released horror movie Wii set a new record in its first weekend, surpassing the box office of the first weekend of Avatar.
The most successful film of the year was Stalingrad by Fedor Bondarchuk, which became the absolute box-office champion among domestic films with grosses of US$67 million. According to the official statistics, only two films had bigger grosses: Avatar and the fourth part of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Now, with its first-weekend gross of about US$ 20 million, Wii has the potential to beat Stalingrad and become the highest-grossing Russian film ever.
The representatives of the Russian Cinema Makers Union say that after years of crisis (2002-2007), when almost none of the Russian films profited at the box office, the current period of high grosses will give a powerful impetus to the development of the industry.
If the popularity of Russian features continues to grow, the industry plans to increase the output. Today, Russia produces only 70 films a year, but Russian producers promise in the next few years to increase this figure to 300.
Snow Queen Eyes Foreign Markets
The Russian animated film The Snow Queen will be the first film produced in Russia to be released in wide distribution abroad, according to representatives of the Russian Cinema Fund.
"The Russian cinema has good commercial potential, it can be successfully sold abroad,” assured the organizers of the joint stand of Russian Cinema at the European Film Market at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
“The results of the stand inspire,” said Anton Malyshev, executive director of the Russian Cinema Fund. “The first big success was the recent achievement of the animation studio Wizart Animation. The company has signed contracts for the release of the sequel to The Snow Queen in 2015 in the U.K. and South Korea. Such successes of our movies, as far as I remember, have never happened before!"
He continued, "The interest of the foreign public in Russian movies is big, including animation, genre movies and action movies. These are the traditionally exported types of movies. Our animation is interesting for the Middle East, United Kingdom, Korea. The action genre is interesting for Asian companies. And, of course, Eastern Europe is interested in our films, even ones as difficult as Vysotsky, Thank You for Living.”
Russia Remakes Some Like It Hot
Russian theatres are now playing the new comedy Only Girls in Sport, a free remake of the 1959 American classic Some Like It Hot.
The plot follows three snowboarders who want to escape from their pursuers and dress up like girls. They accidently get chosen for the national team, go to Sochi for pre-Olympic test events, and get acquainted with some American athletes. At the end, the heroes float away into the sunset on a boat with a rich and not very demanding millionaire, just like in the original movie.
It should be noted that this appears to be the first project in which Russian directors have dared to remake a film shot in Hollywood. According to Russian cinema expert Philip Chernikov, the project is experimental. If it succeeds among viewers, similar projects should appear in the near future.
"However, the prospects of such project are quite questionable,” Chernikov says, “since Russian filmmakers still suffer from the lack of experience to shoot high-quality cinema. The viewer is aware of this and very often does not go to remakes of Soviet films, just out of respect for the original Soviet cinema, with the result that such remakes fail at the box office. A similar fate is likely to be expected for the remakes of famous Hollywood movies."