The Russian government announced today it will take control of the country's movie release schedule in an effort to give local films an advantage over Hollywood. The culture ministry has obtained the rights to shuffle the release date of a Hollywood movie if it coincides with the release of a major Russian film, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
"We are only worried about releases of Russian films."
In the announcement, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky (pictured above, center) said, "We are only worried about releases of Russian films. It is important for us to make sure that they recoup their budgets." The culture ministry, which issues film exhibition licenses, will now be able to specify a release date in those licenses.
This news comes after a string of efforts by the Russian government to exercise more control over the country's film industry. After a proposal last week to ban films in Russia considered unpatriotic, the culture ministry has now reversed that proposal, deeming it "excessive," The Moscow Times reports.
Medinsky also said that the ministry won't make changes to the release calendar for just any Russian film, saying "financial, political or ideological priorities" will take precedence. It's unclear how the country's "ideological priorities" will affect movie releases, but given the ministry's recent negative reaction to the Oscar-nominated Leviathan, which portrays a corrupt Russian government, this development could delay Hollywood films the government doesn't like.
Not all Russian films will take precedence
Given the ruble's recent plunge in value and Hollywood's financial muscle in the country, it makes sense it makes sense Russia would take newfound interest in supporting local creative output. The culture ministry has the authority to make release-date changes immediately, but so far there are no scheduling conflicts.