A $9.3 million debut for Pacific Rim propelled Guillermo Del Toro's tent-pole to the top of the box office in Russia. The film scored higher than many other comparable titles in the market: 377% higher than The Day After Tomorrow, 214% above Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 208% ahead of War of the Worlds, and 177% more than Transformers 2.
Disney posted strong numbers in the market as well. Monsters University hit the $20 million mark in Russia this weekend and The Lone Ranger continued its successful run in the country by reaching a $12.4 million cume. Russia accounts for about a quarter of The Lone Ranger's total overseas gross. The adventure Western has already surpassed the four-week $10.7 million total for Man of Steel.
World War Z added another $1.4 million in its third weekend to reach a $23.3 million cume. The zombie thriller has been playing holding well in Russia with three consecutive weekends above the $1 million mark. Fox's comedy The Heat has also been connecting with Russian audiences. The Heat held on for a $1 million weekend, a 43% drop from its previous frame, to reach a $3.8 million total.
The Lone Ranger rode into first place in Russia, grossing $6.6 million in its opening weekend. The Gore Verbinski/Johnny Depp partnership had little competition, with second place World War Z dropping 63% in its sophomore frame for a $4.1 million weekend. It was a big enough weekend for Brad Pitt's zombie epic to break the $20 million mark in Russia. The Heat didn't bring in Hangover-like numbers in its debut, but opened to a promising $1.7 million in a market that is increasingly responding to U.S. comedies.
Monsters University and Now You See Me closed the weekend on the verge of the $20 million mark, a milestone they are both expected to hit by next weekend. Man of Steel has had less success in Russia. The Superman reboot fell a whopping 80% in its third week for a $10.4 million total.
Box Office Results for Russia. July 5-7, 2013
About a year ago, Russian president Vladimir Putin suggested the idea of the development of a group to create a code of ethics for the Russian film industry. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, this group has been established. It consists of producer Leonid Vereschchagin, film critic Kirill Razlogov, director Karen Shakhnazarov, and director Marlen Khutsiyev, amongst others.
With a deadline of Oct. 1, 2013, this code of ethics could “improve the quality of local films and curb violence on Russian screens.” Putin has referenced the Hays Code, which served as the moral compass for Hollywood from 1930 to 1968 before the MPAA rating system, as a guide to create a censorship code. Rinat Davletyarov, the head of the Russian producers guild, called Hollywood’s time under the Hays Code the “golden age,” which shows support for a Russian adaptation of the American guidelines.
The proposition of the code of ethics is not without its critics, however. Director Andrei Proshkin, who heads KinoSoyuz, an alternative union of filmmakers, believes that the existing Russian rating system—which has been made stricter—is sufficient to deal with the ethical issues that are present.
World War Z became the biggest non-franchise opener in Russia and Brad Pitt's biggest debut in the territory after posting an $11.5 million opening weekend. World War Z grossed nearly three times the amount of Monsters University's second weekend, both films posted a similar screen count. Monsters U earned $4.1 million to take its Russian total to $15.3 million.
The WWZ debut was a big hit for Man of Steel. The Superman reboot fell a whopping 74% in its second weekend, adding $1.5 million to take its total to $9.3 million. Now You See Me grossed $1.1 million over the weekend to take its Russian cume to an impressive $18 million. Unfortunately, the high grosses of the top four films meant paltry takes for everything else in release. The bottom half of the top ten is completely made up by films that grossed under $200k.
Weekend Box Office Results for Russia. June 28-30, 2013
Russian filmmakers might get lucky finding new state-supported financing for their projects. Culture minister Vladimir Medisnky has gotten the go-ahead to establish five new lotteries with the prupose of raising $120 million annually over the next five years. The funds would benefit film, arts, libraries, tourism and youth programs. The Hollywood Reporter presented this news, citing a report from Russian business publication Kommersant.
The announcement comes shortly after Russia's move to outlaw private lotteries, leaving a clear path for the state to benefit from the contests. This system would, in theory, mimic a similar lottery funding program already in effect in the United Kingdom.