Release of Hollywood Film Hunter Killer Postponed in Russia
The Russian release for Hollywood thriller Hunter Killer was scheduled for last Thursday; however, the release has been postponed. The film, starring Gerard Butler, is about an American submarine captain who rescues the Russian president after he is kidnapped by his defense minister. Just hours before the premiere, Megogo Distribution, the film’s distributor, told theaters not to show it.
Russia’s culture ministry says that Megogo Distribution did not provide proof that they transferred a copy of the film to the Russian state film fund archive for permanent storage, BBC News reports. This step must be taken to receive a screening license. Still, Megogo’s stance is that it submitted all the materials needed to release Hunter Killer well before the film’s intended release and that the ministry did not bring up any issues until now.
Dmitry Gudkov, a leader of the political party in opposition to President Vladimir Putin, proposed that the ministry could instead be blocking the film for suggesting the possibility of Putin being forcefully removed from office.
“What are these bastards from Hollywood suggesting?” he wrote on Facebook. “That someday (Defense Minister Sergei) Shoigu…comes out quietly and tops Putin? That will not happen.”
The film also failed to open in neighboring Ukraine. The film “fell under some law and was banned,” said a representative of Kinomania, a Ukrainian film distributor which had plans to release the film on Oct. 25. The representative declined to give his name, but the film has disappeared from Kinomania’s website.
The committee’s decision to ban the film is being reviewed, said a representative of Derzhkino, the State Film Committee. The results will be published “soon.”
A possible influence on the committee’s decision is a Ukrainian law that bans films that look at Russian security forces and their representatives positively. Since Russia took over control of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, the relationship between the two capitals has deteriorated. Separatists in eastern Ukraine have also gained Russian support, and over 10,300 people have died since April 2014 due to fighting between separatists and government forces.
In the United States, Hunter Killergrossed under $7 million in its first weekend, earning the number five spot at the box office. It is estimated that its revenue dropped nearly 50 percent in its second weekend, for an estimated domestic total of almost $13 million as of Nov. 4.