Universal Pictures’ American Made Dropped from Two Leading Russian Theater Chains
Universal Pictures’ American Made will not be carried by two major theater chains in Russia, the Hollywood Reporter revealed Monday.
The chains, Formula Kino and Cinema Park, make up 15.3 percent of cinemas in the country. Due to the chains opting out of showing the film, it is only being shown on 900 screens. It was originally scheduled to be on a little over a thousand.
The decision comes as Universal finds itself in a disagreement with Rambler and Co’s online ticketing service. Rambler and Co is owned by Alexander Mamut, who also owns the chains. A spokesman for Rambler and Co confirmed the outcome to The Hollywood Reporter, although the exact reasoning had to be found elsewhere.
According to Vedomosti, a business daily, the Russian office of Universal Pictures International holds an exhibition contract with the chains, and recently requested changes to the contract after a 10 percent sales commission on tickets was announced by Rambler. Rambler and Co would not oblige, and in turn, chose to cancel showings of the film.
Mamut also owns the Pioneer movie theater. If the issue is not resolved, Universal distribution of other films in Russia could be affected.
If this situation occurs, it has the potential to be a huge loss for Universal Pictures. According to Box Office Mojo, four out of the ten highest grossing movies in the Russian box office so far this year have been distributed by Universal, bringing in a total of $89,145,145 for the studio. This amount makes up over a quarter (37.5 percent) of the gross in the Russian top 10 so far. Therefore, Universal could lose a good source of revenue if theaters in the Russian market continue to opt out of showing their films, since an audience for their films currently exists there.
The timing of this conflict is not ideal, considering that Variety reported the Russian box office grew by 9.5 percent in 2016. Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets was instrumental in this increase, taking in about $311 million.
American Made opened in Russia on October 12. The weekend box office results are not yet listed on Box Office Mojo. As of October 16, American Made has brought in $40,747,365 domestically, and $72,050,200 in the foreign box office.