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.
Superman was no match against the monsters at the Russian box office. Monsters University claimed the top spot on the top ten chart with a $7.6 million opening weekend. The performance of the Pixar sequel overshadowed the opening weekend of Man of Steel. The Superman reboot fell short against Monsters University by only grossing $5.8 million in its debut despite playing in nearly three hundred more screens than the animated film.
Now You See Me continued its great run in Russia after breaking the $15 million mark in its second weekend. The magic caper film dropped 66% in its second frame for a $2.7 million gross. The film is on track to overtake more high profile releases like After Earth ($16.5M in three weeks) and The Great Gatsby ($16.7M in six weeks).
Box Office Results for Russia. Weekend of June 21-23, 2013