Recently, it was reported that the Russian culture ministry would refuse funding to the Russian-German co-production Dear Hans, Dear Piotr, set during WWII. Now, in a sort of about-face, the ministry has recommended the Cinema Fund — itself under direction of the culture ministry — give the film funding.
The culture ministry, led by Vladimir Medinsky, has appointed "historic consultants" to the film, which he sees as a positive sign. The delay in the funding has already caused the film to delay filming, however. A decision from the Cinema Fund is anticipated in mid-September. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Despicable Me 2 dominated the Russian box office in its opening weekend, raking in $12.2 million across 950 locations. The animated sequel posted the second highest opening for a Universal release in the market, behind this year's Fast & Furious 6. Despicable Me 2 is the highest grossing animated debut of the year in Russia. No other film in Russia grossed above the $1 million mark over the weekend.
The Minions outgrossed the $11.8 million cume earned by The Smurfs 2 in over three weeks of release. A strong hold will lift Despicable Me 2 past the $20.9 million total of Monsters University.
Elysium finished its first hold in second place and reached the $10 million mark. Other top performers in Russia include The Wolverine ($21.4M), Pacific Rim ($20.5M), The Lone Ranger ($15.9M), R.I.P.D. ($13.1M), and The Conjuring ($9.6m).
In yet another transformation of the utilization of public funding for film in Russia, the Cinema Find will soon introduce pitching sessions — which won’t be open to the public.
The Russian Cinema Fund, which distributes the majority of the country’s annual $172 million in public money allocated for filmmakers, is showing greater transparency, ostensibly at the urging of the Kremlin. The Russian Cinema Fund falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture, responsible for arthouse, historic, and socially important projects, which recently led a similar initiative for transparency, but their pitching sessions are open.
Recently, Russia’s Culture Ministry refused to provide the film Dear Hans, Dear Pyotr, a controversial World War II movie, any monetary backing — despite being publicly funded by Germany. Representatives from Germany were confused and frustrated by Russia’s refusal. [The Hollywood Reporter]
The Smurfs 2 led the Russian box office last weekend, bringing in $5.4 million in its debut. The sequel performed 33% better than its predecessor and is expecting to outgross the $12.4 million by the original film in Russia.
The Wolverine scored a $3.3 million hold in its second weekend, bringing its cume to $17.7 million. The Conjuring posted similar numbers, earning $2 million in its second frame to take its total to $7 million.
A handful of other Hollywood releases have fared well in Russia. Monsters University has a $20.9 million cume, Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim has grossed $20 million, The Lone Ranger has brought in $15.8 million, and Turbo is currently posting a $13.1 million total.
The Wolverine posted a great start in Russia, bringing in $10.8 million over its opening weekend to lead a market that saw four new releases break into the top ten.
While Hugh Jackman’s clawed superhero walked away with the weekend’s biggest total, the low-budget thriller The Conjuring was able to squeeze more people into theaters with a $5,323 average across 604 locations. This led to a fantastic result for The Conjuring, which overcame stiff competition from the 2,044 sites playing The Wolverine to finish the weekend in second place with a $3.2 million debut.
R.I.P.D. tumbled 65% in its third frame to close out the weekend with a $2.1 million take. The film starring Ryan Reynolds has found new life in Russia, where it has already reached a successful $10.8 million total. Reynolds also stars in Turbo, another feature finding success in Russia after struggling at the North American box office. Turbo earned $2.1 million over its third weekend in release and reached a healthy $11.8 million cume in the market. Pacific Rim joins the list of Russian hits from North American flops, celebrating its fourth weekend with a $1 million gross. Pacific Rim is on the verge of a major milestone with a $19.5 million total in Russia.
Top Ten Films in Russia. July 27-29, 2013