Disney, Warner and Sony Pictures halt new film releases in Russia

'The Batman', 'Turning Red' and 'Morbius' releases all to be delayed due to Moscow's ongoing assault on Ukraine

Disney announced that it will be halting the release of the film 'The Batman' in Russia, joining other Hollywood entertainment companies in pausing upcoming releases. Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics

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Hollywood entertainment giants including Disney, WarnerMedia and Sony Pictures are halting the release of their films in theatres in Russia after Moscow's assault on Ukraine.

It follows the example of other major firms choosing to pull out of the country since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion last week.

Disney has put on hold the debut of the new Pixar movie Turning Red, about a girl who turns into a giant panda, citing the “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis," the US media company said in a statement.

"We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation," it said.

Disney added it will work with non-profit organisations to provide aid "and other humanitarian assistance" to Ukrainian refugees.

WarnerMedia said it would delay the introduction of The Batman, an instalment of the DC Comics franchise starring Robert Pattinson as the titular superhero. The Batman was scheduled to debut on March 3 in Russia as part of its global rollout. It will debut in US cinemas on March 4 and is expected to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year.

"We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy," WarnerMedia told The Hollywood Reporter.

Sony Pictures also said it would pause its planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming title Morbius.

This is due to "the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region," the company said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly."

The Russian Box office recorded more than $440 million in gross revenue last year, according to data from Box Office Mojo. Sony film Venom: Let There Be Carnage topped all releases in the country with $32.4mn. Spiderman: No Way Home has recorded nearly $45mn in gross revenue since its December 15 release.

Several multinationals have already distanced themselves from Russia in recent days.

Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft took steps on Monday to limit the dissemination of information from news outlets affiliated with the Russian government.

More drastically, British oil companies BP and Shell have announced that they are dumping their shares in joint projects with Russian oil groups.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 4:16 PM
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