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Disney, Warner Bros, and Sony halt release of films in Russia

Disney, Sony and Warner Bros have pulled titles such as The Batman from release in Russia

The Batman and Turning Red

As part of wider sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine, Disney, Sony and Warner Bros have pulled their planned movie releases from Russia. These include high-profile films such as The Batman, Morbius and Turning Red.

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a spokesperson said. “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia,” Disney said in a statement. “Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a spokesperson for Sony told the BBC.

The Batman is set for worldwide release on March 4, Turning Red on March 11 and Morbius on April 1. Netflix has also said that it will not comply with new Russian rules to carry state-backed channels. “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

Matt Reeves’ The Batman stars Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell and Paul Dano. The review embargo lifted on February 28 and it currently has an 87% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is set for a $100-$125 million opening weekend, which would make it only the second movie of the pandemic era to cross $100 million in its opening weekend.

Disney Pixar’s Turning Red will be coming to Disney Plus on March 11, but was due for a theatrical release in Russia and other countries where the streaming service is unavailable. Directed by Domee Shi, it concerns a 13-year-old girl who turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too emotional or excited.

Sony’s Morbius is a Spider-Man spin-off starring Jared Leto as a villainous vampire. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is also set to make an appearance. Although it belongs in the Sony branch of Marvel movies, along with Venom and upcoming spin-offs Kraven the Hunter and Madame Web, it clearly has some bleed-through from the MCU.

The situation between Russia and Ukraine is obviously developing and these are unlikely to be the only movies pulled from release.