Russia

BOX OFFICE ACTUALS: 'The Croods' Can't Unseat 'Oz' on March 20, 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful clung on to the #1 spot on the Russian charts for the second week in a row, which is good news for Disney and bad news for DreamWorks' caveman comedy The Croods, which debuted in Russia a week before its U.S. launch. The animation studio managed only a $2,287 per-screen average in its first frame, which might not bode well for The Croods' pull at home and internationally. Still, a $3.6 million opening weekend isn't awful -- it's just got to feel disappointing. Even more disappointing: Red Dawn's $362K launch. Even switching the villains from Russians to North Koreans wasn't enough for this remake to make a dent on the charts higher than #10. Full numbers below.

RANK

TITLE

GROSS

TOTAL

WEEKS

1

Oz: The Great and Powerful

$4.9M

$21.7M

2

2

The Croods

$3.6M

$3.6M

1

3

Mama

$1.3M

$4.7M

2

4

21 and Over

$1.1M

$4.6M

2

5

The Call

$913K

$913K

1

6

Never Mind the Girl

$734K

$3.2M

2

7

What's Happening Men

$628K

$9.5M

3

8

Rubinrot

$489K

$489K

1

9

Metro

$407K

$11.7M

4

10

Red Dawn

$362K

$362K

1

Steven Seagal Joins Forces With Vladimir Putin on March 19, 2013

putin_seagal.jpgRussian leader Vladimir Putin is infamous for his efforts to promote physical fitness, among them releasing photos of himself topless riding a horse. For his new campaign, he enlisted frequent visitor Steven Seagal, a celebrity in Russia, to make the trip to Moscow where the pair visited a martial arts school. Putin, like Seagal, holds a black belt in martial arts, though they specialize in judo and aikido, respectively. The recently reelected politician aims to reinstate the exercise programs launched by Stalin in the 1930s. "I think it would be quite appropriate to recall the positive experience of past decades when the so-called GTO, Ready for Labour and Defense, was in use in our country," said Putin in a prepared speech at the school. "The revival of this system -- in a new, modern format -- could bring major benefits."

'Oz' Makes Magic in Russia, Breaks Past $20 Million in Second Week on March 17, 2013

Oz: the Great and Powerful is pegged to take in just under $5 million in Russian theaters this weekend, enough to break past the $20 million and place it second in the overall 2013 box office behind the $30 million-grossing Life of Pi. The previous second place holder, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, managed just $18 million over the last two months. The cash haul nearly guarantees Oz a spot among the top-ten moneymakers of the year, as 2012's 10th slot, Wrath of the Titans, raked in a comparatively modest $22.2 million in its total run. 

PREDICTION: 'Oz' to Stay On Top, 'Mama' to Move Up to #2 on March 15, 2013

MAMA.jpgOz: The Great and Powerful is predicted to earn just over $5 million at the Russian box office in its second weekend of release, more than enough for the big budget Disney extravaganza to keep its hold at the top of the charts. But there could be some unexpected movement below as the Jessica Chastain ghost chiller Mama could capitalize on its strong per-screen showing last weekend to climb to #2 at the box office, displacing the raunchy booze comedy 21 and Over. Last week, the two films were within $300K of each other, with 21 taking the advantage, and 21 continues to have more screens in more theaters. But Mama not only has the better reviews -- not that that always means anything -- it also bested 21 at the per-screen haul by an average of nearly $1,500. With no other major contenders elbowing into the fray, this could be Chastain's weekend.

Russia Greenlights Its Own 'Social Network' on March 14, 2013

yandex.jpgHow do you say "Google" in Russian? Yandex. The Yandex search engine is the most-visited site in Russia and the fourth-largest search engine around the world with over 50.5 million unique users a day, as the locally developed program has a more sophisticated understanding of the Russian language and inflection than its Silicon Valley competitor. And now, Yandex is getting its own feature film, Startup, which spans from 1995 -- shortly after the fall of Communism -- to the present, and will focus on the friendship between Yandex's two main developers, Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich. The film will cost just $2 million compared to the $40 million invested in David Fincher's The Social Network, and producer Irina Smolko stressed that there are other individual reasons why this story needs to be told. "Russia has its own mentality, their understanding of life and attitude to success. And it is fully reflected in our characters," said Smolko. "These people are not just born, and suddenly became so smart. These are people who in the '90s suffered ridicule, they were told 'If you're so smart, show where your money is.' Is this similar to what happened in the U.S.? I would say that this is a film about a time when art and consciousness conceived the most innovative, interesting people in Russia."


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